Thandeka Moyo, Chronicle reporter
SCORES of angry residents yesterday took to social media platforms to blast the Bulawayo City Council and the Zimbabwe National Road Authority (Zinara) for not fixing a pothole that caused an accident which killed 14 people from two families in the city on Wednesday night.
The local authority distanced itself from the incident on Twitter, saying the road where the accident occurred fell under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development.
“The City of Bulawayo is saddened by the loss of life and sends out condolences to the family,” said council senior public relations officer Mrs Nesisa Mpofu in a statement issued later yesterday.
Zinara head of corporate communications Mr Augustine Moyo said it was not the authority’s mandate to fix roads.
He said Zinara’s mandate as enshrined in the Roads Act was to collect, administer and disburse funds to Road Authorities.
“Roads generally are in a bad state and need urgent rehabilitation which will cost no less than $5 billion minimum. The state of the country’s road network is a reflection of the challenges that the economy is going through,” said Mr Moyo.
Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Dr Joram Gumbo said his ministry was aware of the state of the roads and was making concerted efforts to rehabilitate them.
“It is our responsibility to maintain all roads both in rural and urban areas and we are mobilising funds from UNDP and other non-government organisations to fix our roads and bridges. I am appealing to members of the public to drive with caution, I repeat our roads are not in good state,” said Dr Gumbo.
He extended condolences to the affected families.
“We are sorry that 14 lives were lost on one of our roads yesterday. These roads are not in a good condition and we have said this all the time, President Mugabe even declared a state of disaster after the onset of Cyclone Dineo,” said Dr Gumbo.
“The problem that we have is our drivers are not patient and therefore we cannot eliminate the fact that the accident was also due to human error. When one is driving on a tarred road and they see water, they must slow down as we know our roads have potholes.”
Last month, a Bulawayo man died instantly when a vehicle he was driving landed on his head and crushed it after he swerved to avoid a pothole.
Blessing Mudekwe (26) from Mzilikazi suburb was thrown out of the Iveco vehicle as it rolled along Masiyephambili Drive near Lobengula suburb and landed on his head.