'Poor planning causing traffic jams in Harare'

HARARE - Harare city fathers are failing to plan, with the city now on the verge of imploding under its own traffic burden, a top engineer has said.

In an interview with the Daily News, engineer Tawona Mtungwazi who runs an engineering consultancy company said the council is being run by unqualified people watching traffic congestion building up, with the city almost coming to a halt — leaving tens of thousands of residents, workers and visitors stuck for hours in the middle of the streets.

“Harare is in ICU because the city lacks planners to implement projects. The people at council don’t even have traffic records.

“They must know that traffic is increasing. We must have bypasses which will be used by cars from Bulawayo, Mutare and (the)airport among others. These cars must not come through the Central Business District but nobody has looked into this issue, they are busy grabbing land,” Mtungwazi said.

He said the number of vehicles on the roads is increasing exponentially, with demand for road space  increasing.

With that many vehicles, road systems in and around Harare will soon reach gridlock point during peak hours. To balance public and private transport, motor vehicle usage would have to be monitored and controlled.

“This business of accountants running council must stop, this is a technical institution,” Mtungwazi said.

He said council must be restructured.

“Many people don’t know the problems which council is facing.

“Council needs to be restructured and people must demand results after restructuring because at the moment, it is being run by political appointees and other unqualified people,” he said.

“Some ideas are brilliant but we have bad handlers. Most of the potholes we are having are primarily due to lack of preventative methods.

“You can actually tell that this road needs maintenance but the council is not aware of that,” said Mtungwazi, who wants to run as an independent candidate for ward 2 in Harare. 

Harare in the 1980s was affectionately referred to as the sunshine city because of its cleanliness.

The city was orderly with well-maintained roads, bright street lights and clean running water, while blooming jacaranda trees also gave it a unique view.

But things have taken a bad turn as the city has been decaying since the 1990s.

Buildings now resemble a war time state and children hang around on street corners with nowhere to go and homeless people tell stories of disease and crime.

Over 80 percent of Harare’s water pipes have outlived their usefulness and are therefore in urgent need of replacement.

As such, the capital continues to lose revenue and the precious resource through burst water pipes. In fact, it is estimated that 60 percent of the city’s water is lost due to old infrastructure.

Most of the water pipes have not been replaced for the last 60 years.

According to a recent report by Dutch firm, Vitens Evides International (VEI), every litre of water lost also means wastage of money spent on chemicals.

“Fifty percent of underground pipes are less than 14 years old while 40 percent of those underground pipes are at the end of their lifespan.

“Fifty percent of pipes that are not underground are less than 34 years old,” VEI said.

Comments (5)

I think a clever accountant can run that council better than a technical guy. Financial structures too can solve those problems , over night , at a fraction of the cost. Kungwara ndokunodiwa. Technical decisions have to be financially sound. The solution is to be both.

Duke of Matebele - Native and Crown Prop. - 5 July 2018

He is not saying accountants are not needed, he is simply saying people without a technical background cannot formulate solutions to solve some of the issues facing council.

Tarantula - 5 July 2018

I've said the exact same thing for years. Then some fools think it's far fetched to have spaghetti by passes and so on. We need a meaningful transit system then we need to plan by passes. City of Harare can't do it without central government's help. The budget last time I checked was a paltry $350m. Toronto, a city of similar population, has a budget of $14B. We need real infrastructure investment not this peacemeal junk from Zanu govt. I think the city must have an elected mayor and collect its revenue from parking, property taxes, etc without interference from central govt. Zanu won't allow it because they're scared of an all powerful mayor hence this ceremonial junk. Get rid of Zinara and collect your own money. That's what we need

Moe Syslack - 6 July 2018

Wooow, very mature comments there guys, very progressive. I salute!!!

Mblezh - 6 July 2018

To set the record straight plans for those by-passes and even freeways/motorways are there. Used to work for HCC. Problem might be funding the projects and hopefully, the Chinos of this age have not grabbed the land which was reserved for those infrastructure.

Solomon Masiyazi - 6 July 2018

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