By Lubalethu Ndlovu
Bulawayo East Member of Parliament, Ilos Nyoni has called on the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (ZINARA) to cede control of licensing vehicles over to local authorities.
Nyoni raised the matter in parliament last week where he lamented the deplorable state of the roads in the country.
The legislator argued that empowering local authorities with licensing vehicle fees would assist them to better maintain roads.
“Roads are littered with potholes and crevices. City councils and town councils are unable to carry out effective road maintenance activities because they are financially incapacitated,” Nyoni said.
The centralisation of vehicle licensing by ZINARA was meant to bring efficiency and control, but has received criticism that ever since it took control, roads have denigrated much worse.
Nyoni alleged ZINARA lacked efficiency and that the only way to measure capability was to check the end result, of which roads all over the country showed they are in a bad state.
“Allowing metropolitan councils to handle a certain percentage of vehicle license fees will assist local authorities implement their construction duties within their localities and reduce avoidable accidents.
“It is vital that cities and towns are capacitated financially by removing the collection of license fees from ZINARA to metropolitan councils and local authorities,” he said.
The legislator alluded that giving licensing powers to local authorities would not affect ZINARA’s operations, as it generated most of its revenue through collection of road tollgate fees.
“ZINARA has road access fees, fuel levies, transit fees and other fees that are collected by this parastatal,” he said.
Zimbabwe has not been able to refurbish its roads and still uses those inherited from the colonial era, except for the Mutare to Plumtree Highway, which was refurbished in 2013.
Some accidents on the roads have been caused by potholes, where the poor maintenance has cost people their lives.
Nyoni referred to an accident that took place in March, 2016, where a commuter omnibus carrying mourners from Bulawayo headed for Chiredzi collided with a 30 tonne truck at Bobs Garage along Gwanda road.
“The truck was trying to avoid a porthole resulting in a head on collision and 16 lives were lost on the spot,” the legislator said.