A COMBINATION of breakdowns and shortages of plant and machinery has forced the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) to scale down on capital projects including the ongoing road rehabilitation works.
A progress report of the road rehabilitation programme by the engineering services committee shows road works are reportedly being hampered by a constant breakdown of plant machinery.
The city’s road network has been deteriorating over the years due to ageing and lack of timely maintenance owing to resource constraints.
The local authority says it requires about ZW$30 million per month to meet government funding shortfalls for the city under the nationwide Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP).
The government launched the ERRP in 2021 after President Emmerson Mnangagwa declared the country’s roads a national disaster.
A follow-up Statutory Instrument (SI) 47 of 2021 was later gazetted, empowering the Transport and Infrastructural Development ministry to authorise the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) to source funding for road rehabilitation.
In the past, the local authority was forced to divert capital funds to finance road works after receiving inadequate budgetary support from the Zinara.
Zinara is a statutory body empowered to collect and manage road fees from various sources such as tollgates for onward disbursement to the rural and urban councils for approved road maintenance works.
A progress report of the city council’s engineering services committee reveals that the local authority is also being forced to tender some projects to private firms due to shortages and breakdowns of ageing machinery.
“The section was facing a critical shortage of key resources which made it difficult to meet the ever-increasing demands from the entire organisation. Forty-three (46) projects, 135 general maintenance works orders and nine emergency response requests had been received.
“The number of available vehicles against these capital projects and general maintenance was a mismatch,” the report reads in part.
“There could be a need to scale down these projects in proportion with available resources and budgets in the long run. The major challenges were material and mismatching equipment. The Regrading and Regravelling works were being tendered out to private contractors due to lack of in-house plant and ??
Last year, the council was forced to turn to individuals, community groups and companies for road maintenance work, pleading that they volunteer to rehabilitate roads under an “Adopt-A-Road” concept.
“The scheme is intended to help to maintain and beautify sections of the City of Bulawayo’s road network through community members volunteering to sponsor and/or undertake road maintenance and rehabilitation works at no cost to BCC,” the council had said.
“The scheme would save Bulawayo ratepayers millions of dollars every year while providing participants a great opportunity by giving back to their community and being leaders in promoting civic responsibility and community pride.”