By Itai Muzondo
The Masvingo City Council announced in the recently held full council meeting that they wish to seek permission from ZINARA to use the 2016 ZINARA Road Fund to purchase critical construction equipment as graders.
This comes barely months after council property worth more than US$3 million is yet to be auctioned by Two Mzaya Auctioneers after losing a labour case in court court. The property under the hummer include construction vehicles like, UD Tipper AAE 9009, Grader Changlin AAE 9028, Nissan UD AAE 5881, Refuse Removal Breakdown Grader AAE 5856 and Frontend Loader AAE 9027 which are being opted to be bought again.
“Concern was raised on the lack of critical road equipment such as graders. It was proposed and agreed that there was need to request for authority from ZINARA to use money from 2016 ZINARA Road Fund for the purchase of road equipment in the 2016 Council Budget,” read the recently held council minutes.
The council minutes further recommended that, “The City Engineer should be instructed to request for authority from ZINARA to use funds from the 2016 Road Fund to purchase road equipment in 2016”.
Speaking to Radio VOP, Masvingo United Residents and Ratepayers Association (MURRA) coordinator Anoziva Muguti criticized the development saying council should simply use the money to low risk areas such as hired equipment than buying new assets which would be prone to attachment as well.
“I do not think that it is a wise move considering the council might face another labour wrangle to what it owes workers currently. There is high possibility that the council vehicles will be attached as well.
“They should channel the funds towards low risk areas such as road maintenance. Actually that is where priority should be given considering that our roads are in a dilapidated state,” said Muguti.
Masvingo Residents Trust Chairperson, Prosper Tiringindi reiterated the sentiments saying, council must think straight and start by recovering its debts from all owing stakeholders and top businessmen they are afraid of approaching in town than diverting funds meant for the betterment of our bleeding ancient city.
“Why does council fail to think of recovering its debts than thinking of bleeding our beloved ancient city of a fund that would bring beauty to it? It is not a noble idea unless council would talk of recovering thousands it is owed to clear its debts to employees and acquiring new equipment,” said Tiringindi.
Meanwhile, Masvingo City town clerk Adolf Gusha said the council received US$86 000 from ZINARA for the first quarter maintenance period and that requisitions for the works to be done were being compiled.
“We have received US$86 000 from ZINARA for the first quarter maintenance period and requisitions for works to be done are being compiled,” said Gusha.
The 7th edition of the Association of Southern African National Road Agencies, Technology Transfer Conference is also currently underway since the 11th of May 2015 in Bulawayo with construction of rural roads expected to dominate discussions at the four-day event.
Over 200 delegates from SADC countries, as well as Britain, USA, Japan and China are holding dialogue with the main focus being the mobilisation of resources for transport infrastructural development and maintenance for poverty alleviation in Africa.