By Africa Moyo
Smartinggo from the continued destruction of city roads by firms laying fibre optic cables, the Harare City Council is calling for yearly plans from such companies to avoid destruction of roads after they have been resurfaced.
This comes as several companies, particularly telecommunications players, have been taking turns to dig roads so that they lay fibre cables to boost internet speed.
The firms have been under stinging criticism from motorists and ordinary residents alike, for degrading the roads and fail to restore them to their original state on completion of their projects.
Some roads have literally become unnavigable and pose a danger to vehicles and pedestrians. Mr Melusi Gumede, a Harare resident, said it was important for the City of Harare to ensure that companies that dig roads for whatever reason, repair them after their activities.
“I acknowledge that the road network in Harare is bad, but I have a feeling that contractors, and specifically telecommunications companies, are worsening the state of roads in the city.
“There must be a deliberate policy by City of Harare to ensure that everyone who digs the road, fills it up and tars it so that there are no humps or depressions on the roads.
“For instance, the City Council had done a great job on repairing roads at the corner of Herbert Chitepo and Leopold Takawira but a hump has been created now after the firm, which laid cables there failed to level the road. The same as corner Harare Street and Josiah Chinamano Streets,” said Mr Gumede.
Harare City Council spokesman Mr Michael Chideme, told The Herald Property yesterday that companies apply to council to lay their fibre and the requirement has always been that they restore roads to their previous state. However, some firms have ignored that and even when reminded to repair the roads, they don’t take heed.
“They apply to us for permission to dig the road so that they do their work. When they complete their works, the agreement is that they should cover the road.
“As the Harare City Council, we do follow-ups on such people so that they come and take corrective measures on the roads they would have damaged.
“However, some come back to correct the roads but others don’t. We therefore encourage companies, who know they have projects which include laying fibre cables to have a plan for the year that they send to us so that we plan accordingly,” said Mr Chideme.
Mr Chideme explained that it would be unfair for companies to request to dig a road after it has been resurfaced.
Council resurfaced large parts of Nelson Mandela Avenue recently and markings are expected in the near future.
“In essence, there should be collaboration between companies and the City Council. They should update us on their plans so that when we do road works, we have them in our plans. We wouldn’t want them (companies) to come and apply to dig trenches immediately after major road works, such as along Nelson Mandela, have been done,” said Mr Chideme.