By Evidence Chipadza
Despite efforts made by Gweru City Council (GCC) to fix traffic lights, there has been outcry by motorists as accidents continue to occur. In Feburary 2019, GCC paid $500k for solar powered traffic lights which are now malfunctioning. The City of Gweru paid Emobuild Construction US$360 000 as part payment of US$500 000 for the installation solar-powered traffic lights at the city’s major intersections. This presents as a problem that the nation of Zimbabwe continues to face, centered around the question of whether our procurement systems are adequate if we always receive poor services?
GCC awarded the contract to Drewland, a Chinese company in 2013 with a target of installing traffic lights at 16 intersections in the city. As of now, there is only one intersection at Mtapa with traffic lights functioning. This is now a major threat to both motorists and pedestrians in the CBD.
The issue of Gweru traffic lights has been hanging for years now as the contractor was accused of conducting a half-baked job as the lights became dysfunctional soon after installation. Every motorist has a right to free movement being guided by working traffic lights but for Gweru, it remains a pipe dream.
Traffic signals are designed to ensure an orderly flow of traffic, provide an opportunity for pedestrians or vehicles to cross an intersection and help reduce the number of conflicts between vehicles entering intersections from different directions. Meanwhile, GCC wants Emobuild Construction to meet the costs of damages claimed from council by motorists who were involved in accidents at the traffic lights controlled intersections. While a simple matter at face value, the threat of poor procurement leads to significant losses in resources and life. Are procuring authorities unable to do due diligence on responding companies? As usual, citizens are the ones to lose out!