HARARE – Munesuishe Munodawafa, permanent secretary for Transport and Infrastructural Development, said yesterday government was not yet ready to introduce urban tollgates as more consultations were needed on the matter.
Presenting oral evidence before the parliamentary portfolio committee on Transport, Munodawafa said the project needed a substantial cash injection before it can be rolled out.
“We need to consult widely as we know that it is an expensive programme,” Munodawafa said.
“We are not ready for urban tolling but we are saying let us engage before we can start the process and we do not know whether it is ministry of Transport or Local Government that will be responsible for the programme.
“The municipality councils are saying let’s do it because they want money, but it can only work in big towns not small towns.
“Even in South Africa, they only have urban toll gates in Johannesburg. We need to put gadgets on vehicles so that you can use when you have entered a urban tollgate.”
He said the installed tollgates on highways were currently being computerised so that they can be connected to Zimbabwe Republic Police, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation and Vehicle Inspection Department to identify motorists who have defective vehicles or who have not regularised their vehicle licences or are on police wanted list for traffic offences.
“This is a programme we are currently trying to implement to link up all tollgates countrywide before we can start on the urban tollgates, so let us debate on the issue before starting on it,”said
Dexter Nduna, chairperson of the committee, had questioned the ministry’s proposal to introduce urban tollgates before having fully satisfied motorists of the idea behind the tollgates.
He said the ministry had failed to repair the highways with money being raised by highway tollgates.
Members of the committee led MDC MP Albert Mhlanga were vehemently opposed to the introduction of urban tolls.
Central government is however, adamant with plans to introduce urban tollgates despite fierce resistance from motorists.
Obert Mpofu, the Transport minister announced in September that government was considering the introduction of tollgates in urban centres to raise money to finance infrastructural development, decongest the city centres and reduce carbon emissions.
The proposal was met with fierce resistance from labour organisations and urban dwellers in general.
Mpofu cited the examples of London, Stockholm and Oslo as model cities of the system with South Africa being the latest regional addition following President Jacob Zuma’s recent approval.
Currently, Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) revenue comes from highway toll fees, vehicle licensing, loans and grants, abnormal load fees, road transit fees and fuel levy.