The Zimbabwe National Roads Authority (Zinara) has been prioritising VIP routes in Harare, an official has said.

Harare City Council (HCC) environmental committee chairperson Herbert Gomba yesterday said every year Zinara makes full disbursements for VIP roads while neglecting those in other parts of the city.

His remarks came after residents argued that roads in most high density suburbs had become extremely bad to the point they had resorted to using gravel to cover up potholes.

“Zinara has an uneven distribution of funds as money is always readily available for these VIP routes but for other roads they bring the money in batches or never at all. We have tried to engage them on the issue but to no avail. We hope that in the next council they will change and start doing things differently,” Gomba said.

He said road maintenance in Harare is solely an HCC project which should not be hijacked by politicians.

Gomba also emphasised that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) should swiftly release foreign currency so that council brings in equipment that is stuck in South Africa.

“We have equipment that has now spent 10 months in South Africa because of a lack of foreign currency to import it into the country.

That is part of the reason why some of our works are slow but if RBZ gives us the money everything will go according to plan,” he said.

HCC roads operations manager George Munyonga said council was currently working on spending their entire disbursement for 2018 in order to get more funds for other roads.

He said if their 2018 allocation, which has amounted to over $24 million is depleted, they will be approaching the city fathers for extra money for more repairs and maintenance works.

“Our target for this year was 134 kilometres and so far we are over 60 kilometres complete.

“Some contractors that were not working were given a final warning or that they faced ejection from the project.

“Once we complete our target we hope to get more money to fix other roads that need repairs,” Munyonga said.

The engineer also said that council was also looking for external funding for repairs of Harare’s entire road network which requires more than $600 million.

“We are still far from bringing our roads to a manageable state which is why we are looking for funders in the road project.

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