Tawanda Mangoma in NGUNDU
Motorists, public transport operators and passengers here have implored Government to move fast in dualising the Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge highway to curb runaway carnage along the country’s busiest road.
The highway is now a death trap owing to its bad state a situation exacerbated by an increase in traffic volumes over the past few years.
Some motorists, transport operators and passengers who spoke to The Herald said the highway was now a virtual death trap and called for authorities to act to save loss of life and limb.
Cross-border bus driver Mr Oscar Munyira said the rate at which tyres were being damaged during trips along the way raised the need to upgrade the highway. He said potholes were the biggest menace on the highway.
“We transport passengers from Johannesburg to Chipinge every week but the road on the Zimbabwean side is now very bad,” said Mr Munyira.
“If you look at the potholes from Lutumba up to Neshuro turnoff, you will see that a lot of breakdowns are being experienced along that stretch due to potholes. It has become normal that you have to lose one or two tyres along this road during every trip and I wonder what the authorities are doing about this.’’
Another driver Mr Jonathan Mlambo blamed the media for not doing enough to highlight the daily plight of passengers and transport operators plying the highway and only focusing on fatal accidents. “If you count the number of trailers that daily get damaged after separating from buses because of potholes you will be shocked my friend. The media has to do more to tell the nation about how this road has become a death trap,’’ he said.
“Passengers nowadays shower us with praise at the end of every journey because they know the risks associated with driving along this highway. This highway is now pothole-infested and is too narrow, the road markings are no longer there, while animals are always roaming freely. What even worries us is that in the event of an accident blame is laid on the driver and not those responsible for effecting repairs.’’
A transport operator whose buses ply the Beitbridge- Masvingo highway Mr Kudakwashe Makuku said costs being encountered on every trip were excessive due to the poor state of the roads.
Others said Government should also make sure there were medical facilities close to the highway to offer relief in the event of serious road accidents.