By Innocent Ruwende
Harare City Council is reviewing its systems to ensure swift payment of road contractors, amid reports that workers in its Works Department were demanding kickbacks to process payments to firms repairing the city’s roads.
This delayed roadworks as the companies downed their tools owing to non-payment, leaving roads in a sorry state with heaps of gravel evident on long stretches and in some cases partially blocking vehicles.
The companies were contracted by council to rehabilitate roads under the $17 million Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme and the city processes their papers for onward payment by Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara).
Environment Management Committee chairperson Councillor Herbert Gomba yesterday said the city resumed roadworks which included resealing, pothole patching and reconstruction following payment to some of the contractors.
“The Audit Committee is reviewing the systems to allow for swift payment to contractors,” he said.
“Other contractors have already resumed work and others will soon follow this week. We have asked the workers to work long hours and on weekends to ensure that they deal with the backlog.”
Clr Gomba said the city would also be on the ground helping out in different localities.
In his State of the City address recently, Harare Mayor Councillor Bernard Manyenyeni said the road rehabilitation emergency fund from Government enabled council to start meaningful road rehabilitation works.
He said $17 million was pledged and over $12 million had been disbursed to the city.
“To date, over 400km of roads have been fixed of potholes and rehabilitated, patching of 325km has been done and significant work has been done under the drain clearance programme,” he said.
“The work done is quite minimal considering the magnitude of the roads problem in Harare.
“Subject to confirmation, Harare has a population of 400 000 licensed motor vehicles which should pay the Zinara $10 million per quarter or $40 million per year.”