Saturday, 7 May 2022

POLE IN THE ROAD SHOCKS BEITBRIDGE


BEITBRIDGE town residents have raised alarm following the construction of a road on an electricity line where one pole has been left in the middle of the road.

In separate interviews, the residents blamed the local municipality and the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) for poor co-ordination.

It is reported that a master-plan mix-up resulted in the local authority constructing the road under the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP) which cuts through a powerline.

Residents started complaining this week after noticing that one of the electricity poles was in the middle of a newly surfaced road in the Vhembe View suburb along Acacia Drive.

“We are gravely concerned about the situation along that road. Honesty there is something wrong with the workmanship there, especially those in charge of supervision,” said a resident Mr Ndaba Ngoma.

“The master map should have resolved that issue between ZETDC and the local authority. Lives could be lost there when someone smashes into the pole since it is in the middle of a road”.

Miss Mitchel Mapfumo said if the matter was not urgently attended to, lives could be lost, especially by motorists driving down the road at night.

She said consultations should be held among major stakeholders when such high-capital projects are being implemented.

Another resident, Mr Samuel Chimere said: “I blame both the roads contractor and rate payers’ representatives who are councillors for approving such poor workmanship which is a danger to motorists and a waste of valuable resources”.

Mr Mafios Macheka said the power utility and the council should not drag their feet in addressing the abnormality on Acacia Drive.

Beitbridge East legislator, Cde Albert Nguluvhe, said it was important for ZETDC to reroute the powerline by removing the pole which could be relatively cheaper compared to reworking the surfaced road.

“This is an error which needs to be addressed as soon as yesterday. I strongly advise ZETDC to reroute the powerline by removing that pole, which seems logical,” he said.

The town’s Mayor, Councillor Munyaradzi Chitsunge, said the power utility had erred in putting the electricity pole in the middle of the road.

He said they were now engaging ZETDC to ensure the challenge was resolved.

“As a local authority, we have no control over ZETDC, and it appears they could have misread the master plan resulting in this current crisis and they are taking their time to remove that pole.

“However, we are hopeful that the issue will be amicably resolved in the shortest possible time,” said the Mayor.

By the end of the day yesterday, the power utility had already erected two more poles far away from the road under construction in preparation for re-routing the powerline.

Although the ZETDC spokesperson was not available for comment, a senior official within the organisation said the necessary paperwork had been processed by relevant authorities to allow them to reroute the powerline.

“As you are aware, we don’t just put a powerline without getting approval from the concerned local authority in terms of paying for wayleaves,” said the official.

“That powerline has been there for a very long time before the road’s construction and we suspect there was a mix-up on the council side.

“We appreciate the drive to modernise the town’s roads by the government. So in the interest of progress, the necessary paperwork has been processed to remove that pole and use another route for our electricity line”. Herald

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