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Harare fails to account for Zinara funds

by Staff reporter
25 Jan 2023 at 10:31hrs | Views
Harare City Council has failed to acquit funds that have been allocated to it by the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) resulting in the local authority failing to access new disbursements.

This has seen the councillors failing to rehabilitate the road network of the city which has now seen the road infrastructure marred with potholes owing to neglect by the opposition CCC-led council.

This puts paid to claims by the Harare City Council mayor Jacob Mafume who sought to blame Zinara yesterday for their neglect of road rehabilitation.

Cllr Mafume claimed that they were failing to get money from Zinara and in other instances they got paltry amounts.

Driving along the roads in various suburbs is now challenging as various roads are laden with potholes filled with water.

In a statement last night, Zinara chief executive officer, Mr Nkosinathi Ncube said Zinara has consistently disbursed funds to Harare City Council and other road authorities, but the next disbursement would be subject to acquittal of the previously disbursed funds by a road authority concerned.

"According to the dictates of the Roads Act, a Road Authority can only access a new disbursement from Zinara after acquitting its previous disbursement. As for the City of Harare, it is important for the nation to know that in 2020, their total allocation was $86 million (US$1,5 million) which could be translated using the prevailing exchange rate at the time and Zinara disbursed 100 percent of that amount and the City of Harare failed to acquit their last disbursement," said Mr Ncube.

"As a result, they failed to access an early disbursement in 2021. The City of Harare's allocation for 2021 was $1, 3 billion (US$15 million) which again can be translated to USD using the exchange rate at the time. However, the City of Harare only requested $154 million of this total allocation and failed to utilise in excess of $1,1 billion. In 2022, they are yet to acquit their fourth quarter disbursement of $566 million despite the fact that most road authorities have already acquitted their 2022 disbursements. This means that even if funds were to be disbursed today as per the Zinara schedule for 2023, Harare residents will still be deprived of service delivery until their Road Authority follows the dictates of the Road Act."

He expressed Zinara's commitment to collaborate with road authorities to improve the road network.

"It is a fact that our roads need to be rehabilitated and we need to work hand in glove to address this. Whilst some may argue the funds disbursed are not enough to meet all the needs, it will also be noble to be transparent and show the nation how the received funds were utilised," he said.

In a related matter, Harare City Council says it is conducting a pothole patching exercise on most roads to enable smooth floor of traffic as the situation continues to deteriorate due to incessant rains.

In some areas, motorists are evading potholes using roadside pavements exposing the lives of pedestrians to peril.

HCC spokesperson Mr Innocent Ruwende said the city was in a drive to patch potholes, adding the progress was slow owing to the rains.

"The Roads division purchased pothole patching materials using the Zinara disbursements," said Mr Ruwende.

"Pothole patching is currently underway and will continue throughout the rain season. Funding is a major limitation on pothole patching," he said.

Mr Ruwende alleged that the bad state of the roads was being exacerbated by the illegal car wash practised along most roads.

He said, illegal dumpsites were a menace as they were blocking drains meant to divert running water to safer grounds.

"Street car washing must be abolished as water from washing is ponding on roads and eroding road shoulders thereby weakening our roads," said Mr Ruwende.

"The city has procured a new excavator which will be dedicated to the major outfall drain clearing, some of which have not been cleared in the past eight or more years."

Mr Ruwende said plans were afoot to procure machinery for opening drains and refuse collection.

Source - The Herald
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