Zimbabwe roads 'not for amateurs'

Zimbabwe roads 'not for amateurs'
Published: 07 July 2015 (1055 Views)
The state of Zimbabwe's roads is the stuff of legend.

From whole trucks submerged in water-filled craters right in the central business district to gruesome road accidents, motorists must navigate hazards like these every day.

For Naison Maravanyika, a 36-year-old taxi driver who knows Bulawayo's streets like the back of his hand, the conditions demand that he drives like a Hollywood stuntman.

"These roads are not for amateurs," he said navigating the edges of a road that has been eaten away, the remaining asphalt a thin winding stretch that resembles one long lifeless snake.

PAYING FOR NOTHING

"No one is fixing these roads, but we are paying a fortune to Zinara (the Zimbabwe National Road Authority)," Maravanyika said.

Motorists must pay tolls to Zinara, but a report delivered to parliament last month by Zimbabwe's Auditor General (AG) Mildred Chiri revealed widespread abuse of funds in the road authority.

Senior Zinara officials have been awarding themselves hefty allowances not approved by the government, while flouting tender processes at a cost to the country of more than $11 million, Chiri said in the report.

They are lining their pockets from road tolls, she said. Motorists pay different rates based on vehicle size at the country's toll gates set up by the government between major towns and cities. But the revenues are largely bankrolling the lavish lifestyles of officials, who awarded themselves unapproved "holiday allowances", Chiri said.

The report came as the Minister of Transport Obert Mpofu announced more toll gates will be set up across the country to add $200 million (R2.48 billion) a year to the government's revenue collection base and finance planned infrastructure improvements.

At least $5 billion (R62.5bn) is needed to repair Zimbabwe's roads over the next decade, according to official estimates.

Neither Zinara nor Mpofu have responded to requests to comment on the report's findings.

TOLL ON LIVES

Meanwhile, police statistics reveal another toll from the disintegrating highways. In just 12 days last December, 82 people died from 1012 road accidents, up from 822 accidents during the same month the previous year. Overall, the number of road accidents rose 9 percent in 2014 to 41 000, the latest data available.

The cost comes not only in lives lost. The health ministry said that one in four people treated in the hospitals for disabilities last year were the accident victims.

Maravanyika, the cab driver, is not surprised.

"The money is not paying for the repair of these roads. These people eat our money," he said as he dodged oncoming traffic after encroaching into the opposite lane to avoid potholes.

Despite the AG's blistering report, Zimbabwe oppostion legislator James Maridadi offered little hope the problems will be fixed soon.

He told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that it is up to the Transport Ministry to act on Chiri's findings, and the AG reports are of no consequence because they are merely "recommendations".

"They are a waste of parliament's time because the parent ministries where these corrupt officials are housed are not willing to act on these reports," Maridadi said.

Allegations of rampant corruption at Zinara are not new.

Last year, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission named top Zinara officials in a $2 million road rehabilitation tender scam, prompting the country's legislators to demand their imprisonment.

But the police, who respond to criminal complaints from the ministries, have brought no charges nor made arrests.

"Ministers cannot act on corruption because they are themselves benefitting from it," Maridadi, the opposition legislator said.


- Reuters

Tags: Zimbabwe,
 0

You May Like These Videos

Comments

There are no comments.

Latest stories

PHOTOS: Job Sikhala becomes an instant internet joke

by Social media | 03 October 2019 | 144 Views

America says it is worried about Zimbabwe

by Mandla Ndlovu | 03 October 2019 | 169 Views

Madinda Ndlovu to be discharged tomorrow

by Staff reporter | 03 October 2019 | 117 Views

What are behavioral disorders and how can they be managed?

by Temba Munsaka | 03 October 2019 | 125 Views

Government speaks on Robert Mugabe's body parts

by Mandla Ndlovu | 03 October 2019 | 204 Views

Zacc recovers $100m property from looters

by Staff reporter | 03 October 2019 | 118 Views

WATCH: Mnangagwa apologises for destroying Zimbabwe satire

by Mandla Ndlovu | 03 October 2019 | 112 Views

Mphoko's application for release of passport dismissed

by Staff reporter | 03 October 2019 | 91 Views

Zanu-PF restructuring exercise begins

by Staff reporter | 03 October 2019 | 92 Views

Petrotrade declares $1.5 million dividend

by Staff reporter | 03 October 2019 | 83 Views

MSU, Zupco seal bus deal

by Staff reporter | 03 October 2019 | 119 Views

Mnangagwa to open ZMF conference

by Staff reporter | 03 October 2019 | 103 Views

High Court sets EcoCash hearing date

by Staff reporter | 03 October 2019 | 99 Views

Mphoko barred from leaving Zimbabwe

by ZimLive | 03 October 2019 | 103 Views

CIO agents monitor Jonathan Moyo in Kenya

by Mandla Ndlovu | 03 October 2019 | 304 Views

Acie Lumumba targets criminals around Mnangagwa

by Mandla Ndlovu | 03 October 2019 | 268 Views

$100 limit for cash-out transactions

by Staff reporter | 03 October 2019 | 201 Views

ANC starts anti-sanctions campaign

by Staff reporter | 03 October 2019 | 139 Views

ZESN calls for political parties regulation

by Staff reporter | 03 October 2019 | 122 Views

We've no forced labour evidence on Zimbabwe diamonds, says US Embassy

by Staff reporter | 03 October 2019 | 134 Views

Ex-ZPC board chairman freed on bail

by Staff reporter | 03 October 2019 | 119 Views

Cyber Bill seeks to safeguard citizens

by Staff reporter | 03 October 2019 | 102 Views

Cassava launches Vaya tractor services

by Staff reporter | 03 October 2019 | 136 Views

MDC Alliance boycott slammed

by Staff reporter | 03 October 2019 | 85 Views

10-man Bulawayo Chiefs stun Harare City

by Staff reporter | 03 October 2019 | 108 Views

Zimbabwe has a reputational problem, says US

by newzimbabwe | 03 October 2019 | 117 Views

MDC Alliance walk of shame

by Nduduzo Tshuma | 03 October 2019 | 135 Views

MDC councillors want suspension of Cowdray Park projects

by Staff reporter | 03 October 2019 | 106 Views

RBZ floats $300m additional TBs

by Staff reporter | 03 October 2019 | 99 Views

Teenagers rob soldier

by Staff reporter | 03 October 2019 | 115 Views

Duo rape corpse, get death sentence

by Staff reporter | 03 October 2019 | 121 Views

Mnangagwa to fly out for the zenith times

by Staff reporter | 03 October 2019 | 99 Views

Chamisa's MPs approach court to reverse 5 months allowance garnish

by newzimbabwe | 03 October 2019 | 69 Views

Zimra official forges Customs papers

by Staff reporter | 03 October 2019 | 53 Views

Zifa courts two nations for Warriors' friendlies

by Staff reporter | 03 October 2019 | 40 Views