Home » Judicial » Minister Riles Motorists With U.S $1 Road Levy Proposal

MOTORISTS in Mutare have vowed to resist a plan by Provincial Affairs minister Mandi Chimene to impose a mandatory US$1 levy which would be channelled towards rehabilitation of the city’s dilapidated road network.

Although the government has made significant progress in rehabilitating the country’s highways, urban roads are in an appalling state with struggling councils unable to raise the cash to rehabilitate them.

Chimene said to address the funding problem all motorists in Mutare will be compelled to pay a $1 tolling fee through purchasing a sticker.

She said the stickers would be sold by council employees with the cash raised channelled towards road maintenance and purchasing of equipment.

Speaking at the launch of her Fill The Pothole campaign in the city recently, Chimene said those without the stickers would have their cars clamped to force them to comply.

“Please support this initiative through buying a sticker for a $1. The money will be used to buy equipment which will be used to repair the roads,” Chimene told officials who attended the launch.

But motorists said they would resist the move since there is no legislation compelling them the proposed levy.

They said it was the responsibility of the local authority and Zimbabwe National Road Authority (ZINARA) to ensure that the city’s roads are maintained.

“We will not pay because we already burdened by Zinara and council rates. Where do we get the extra dollar to give the council? We are poor and we can’t afford it,” said Tatenda Bwayo, a taxi driver.

Mutare-based legal expert, Bright Mukundwa said the minister cannot enforce the order because there are no statutes supporting it.

“This is supposed to be voluntary not compulsory otherwise motorists have every right to take the minister to court to seek redress. Who will administer the funds?

“There is no accountability. Motorists are paying their rates and taxes to government and that’s enough,” said Mukundwa.

Bright Tembo of Sakubva said such funds are prone to abuse as there is no proper framework guiding their management and disbursement.

Tembo said the minister should leave the responsible authorities to shoulder the burden otherwise she was trying to open floodgates of criticism from frustrated ratepayers.

Mutare Town Clerk, Obert Muzawazi said the council was unable to rehabilitate the city’s roads alone due to financial constraints.

He said the council needs close to $100, 000 to procure the necessary equipment used in the road maintenance.

Source : New Zimbabwe