THE Bulawayo City Council (BCC) needs about US$700 million to rehabilitate three quarters of its road network, mayor Solomon Mguni has said.

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI

In his New Year’s message, Mguni said the city has a road network of 2 389km with 70% of it in poor condition, requiring urgent rehabilitation.

“Lack of funding has affected the current state of the road network and approximately US$700 million is required to bring the network to good condition. Current funding levels are way below this figure,” Mguni said.

“Despite the challenges of erratic fuel supply, limited road repair materials coupled with constant plant and equipment breakdowns, council made progress in rehabilitating roads.”

Mguni said last year, 2,3km of roads were constructed, while a total of 5,5km of completed sections were awaiting surfacing.

He said resealing was affected by budgetary constraints, while 8,4km of overlays were done on Fort Street, Robert Mugabe Way, Matopos Road, Jason Moyo Street, Samuel Parirenyatwa Street and 8th Avenue.

He said 5,4km of regravelling was done in wards 10, 11, 12, 17, 27 and 29.

In partnership with the community, the city cleared 16,3km of drains, 20,3km of median cleaning and 5 032 square metres of pothole patching, while 26km of road marking was outsourced to private contractors.

“It is our hope that we will be able to meet the funding requirements necessary to bring our road network to a good condition. We will continue to use funds disbursed by the Zimbabwe National Road Administration to attend to the city’s road infrastructure in 2020 and beyond,” Mguni said.

He said the year 2019 presented numerous challenges and obstacles to the optimal implementation of municipal services.

“Most challenges were not unique to the City of Bulawayo and are prescribed by the general macro-economic environment. Unique solutions continue to be explored by the city in order for service delivery to be sustained.”
He said implementation of capital projects as well as maintenance of council infrastructure was affected by the unstable economic environment and pricing regimes.

Other persistent challenges affecting service delivery include inadequate manpower, limited and obsolete plant, equipment and vehicles, erratic fuel and electricity supply and water shortages due to drought.

Mguni said the change in the macro-economic environment negatively impacted on the completion of various projects.
“One of the projects affected was the Basch Street Terminus (Egodini Mall) and phase 1 of the project is now anticipated to be completed either at the end of the first quarter of 2020 or beginning of the second quarter of 2020,” he said.

“The prevailing inflationary environment and increase in interest rates further affected the completion of the transportation hub. Despite the highlighted challenges, there was progress in the project with 90% employment opportunities to local residents.”