Tollgate fee hike irks motorists

HARARE - Motorists are outraged by the expected hike in toll fees on the country’s highways, demanding accountability before the increase is put into effect.

Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) has said the current rates will be sub-economic after the installation of state-of-art toll plazas and said they were likely to increase the current fees.

The Daily News went to the streets of Harare on Saturday and motorists did not have kind words for the road administration board which they accused of being corrupt.

Killian Bedzi, a motorist said if Zinara could account for all the money it has raised so far, motorists will gladly comply with the requirement.

“Let Zinara produce a financial report for the entire toll fees it has already collected, we cannot put in money into this project because we want accountability.”

“There is nothing wrong with erecting state-of-the-art facilities on our roads. All we demand is Zinara’s professionalism. We never see their financial reports but now we hear they want to hike the toll fees.”

Rhoda Nyamakura another motorist said: “What we want is a detailed account of what happens to our money.
It is our money after all, so they need to tell us how they spend it before hiking the toll fees.”

Zinara claims the $1 being charged for small vehicles at the existing 24 tollgates is “sub-economic”.

The increases could come into effect as early as New Year’s Day, according to Zinara spokesperson Augustine Moyo.

Zinara says it is spending close to $25 million on state-of-the-art tollgates over the next three years.
The first to be completed will be tollgate at the 17-kilometre peg out of Bulawayo on the Harare road.

It will be commissioned by December 31, according to Zinara. Motorists will pay more “in line with improved conditions at the toll plazas,” says Moyo.

The planned increase has riled motorists and road safety campaigners who say too much money is being spent on constructing tollgates instead of improving road surfaces. The campaigners also want all money raised from tollgates to go towards the repair of road infrastructure.

Zinara says the new tollgates will come with “high security features which will curb leakages of revenue”. The current set up has been condemned as open to abuse.

In November 2010, two Zimra employees were arrested after defrauding their employer of US$1,7 million in tollgate fees.

“Traffic lights will be fitted on the new toll plazas and they will control traffic at any given time of the day,” Moyo was quoted, adding that there would be four pay points — two in each direction.

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