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» » » Urgent rehabilitation needed for Vic Ranch’s muddy roads

Car stuck in Mud 

 …as Zupco stops plying access routes

Clayton Shereni

MASVINGO - While the blame game between central government and local authorities across the country over the state of roads continues, the critically bad road situation in Victoria Ranch continues to deteriorate without any action to put an end to this mess.

The majority of land barons in the area are well known Zanu PF politicians who have amassed large wealth by taking huge acres of state land and subdividing it for sale to desperate home seekers.

The housing stands are sold in foreign currency but the land barons have never bothered to service the roads in the area.

All roads in the area are not surfaced meaning that they are more vulnerable to the force of moving vehicles as well as rainy conditions.

The current heavy rains which have been received in the area have caused a state of emergency as motorists get trapped every day in the muddy gravel roads.

Victoria Ranch Residents Association (VRRA) spokesperson Dereck Chikuni said the dusty and muddy roads no longer deserved to be called roads as they are hardly passable.

This has seen public transport operator Zupco, which is the only utility company allowed to operate since the lockdown began at the end of March 2020, shunning the area altogether.

This has left the commuting public facing huge challenges associated with getting transport in and out of the suburb.

“There are no roads in Vic Ranch to talk about because they don’t deserve to be called roads. We raised that issue on numerous occasions and they told us to wait for the rainy season to end. Transport operators no longer ply our routes. Masvingo City Council has also refused to collect garbage here for many reasons including the bad state of the roads,” said Chikuni.

Pools of muddy water are all over the suburbs’ roads, with motorists needing to carefully negotiate their way past these heavily potholed roads. However, land barons have continuously ignored calls to rehabilitate these roads although they continue to collect thousands of dollars from land sales.

Contacted for comment, one of the land barons who is Zanu PF Cllr for Masvingo Urban Ward 6 and Masvingo City deputy mayor, Wellington Mahwende said they could not repair the roads until the rainy season was over.

“Construction of the roads is still underway and we will repair the roads for residents but they have to wait for the rainy season to end. If we try to use a grader now, it will get stuck in the muddy roads so we want to avoid a situation where we redo the same thing over and over again,” said Mahwende.

Zupco commuter omnibuses and buses have ditched the Town-Vic Ranch route saying it was inaccessible.

Commuters are left with no option but to walk from Gomba Bhopping Centre in Runyararo West suburb as the minibuses do not go further than that.

Last week the government declared all countries major highways a state of disaster due to excessive rains which have been received.

The rains are affecting the country’s old and poorly-maintained road infrastructure which is not sufficient to service a growing vehicle population even in drier seasons.

The Metrological Services Department recently projected a prolonged wet spell which may last up until end of March, meaning residents of Victoria Ranch will need to cope with the almost unbearable challenges of lack of public transportation.

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