Youths volunteer to patch roads

A group of young people in Chitungwiza has decided to enter 2014 with a difference by assuming social responsibility and patching roads in the dormitory town.

The youths use chisels to break stones to fill up potholes in the community’s roads.
The youths use chisels to break stones to fill up potholes in the community’s roads.

Elton Chamusasa, 20, Wisdom Bukwa, 22, Garikai Makochera, 25, Steven Kativu, 25, and Chris Chari, 25, came up with the idea after a resident was almost knocked over by a car trying to avoid a pothole during the festive season. Using their own wheelbarrow, shovels and a pick they have almost completed filling up potholes along the road leading to Pathway Private School in Unit J, Seke, owned by flamboyant businessman, Philip Chiyangwa.

This road was the worst affected and posed great danger to pupils at nearby Waterland preschool. Unemployed with no prospects of getting any formal employment soon, Chamusasa said this initiative presented him with an opportunity to practice the trade which he has set his sights; the construction industry.

“I would like to venture into this industry and I am learning what is needed for this kind of business venture,” he said.

The youths, who are using stones and gravel to patch the roads, said motorists are donating money for them to buy food as they go about their laborious task. Said Bukwa: “Motorists appreciate this initiative and some of them give us a dollar and tell us to buy food and drinks. It is not mandatory that they pay us something, but some just give us a token of appreciation after valuing the costs brought by the impact of the potholes on their cars,” he said. The youths called on young people to spearhead developmental initiatives that improved their communities while improving their quality of lives.

“Most local authorities are failing in road rehabilitation and it is up to the citizens to ensure that they work on the roads because we are the ones that are affected by car accidents as vehicles try to avoid the potholes,” said Makochera.

The youths said they intend to repair all the roads in Chitungwiza by mobilising other youths to do the same initiative in their respective communities.

Said Kativu:” We hope other youths are going to emulate this initiative and do the same in their communities.”

According to projections by the Trade and Transport Facilitation Assessment commissioned by the then Regional Integration and International Co- operation ministry and the World Bank in 2013, the infrastructural deficit is set to widen, a development set to strain treasury.

The government report predicted that the cost of repairing the country’s road networks was expected to increase to over $4,2 billion by the end of 2013, up from the 2009 figure of $2,7..

Last year, the Zimbabwe National Roads Administrator bought 80 motorised graders worth $16 million from China under the Road Authorities Recapitalisation Programme, 40 of which were commissioned by President Robert Mugabe in June and the remainder in October 2013.

Handed over to the Harare City Council, the Jetpatchers aimed at improving and rehabilitating the country’s national road networks. However, progress on the ground has been very slow and the advent of the rainy season worsened the already poor road networks.

ZINARA spokesperson, Augustine Moyo refused to shed more light on what the parastatal was doing to avert the poor state of the roads to cushion motorists this rainy season.

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