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Youths turn to road maintenance for survival

As a result of a huge public outcry that exploded over the deteriorating state of the country’s road system, some youths in the Harare have engaged in a pothole filling campaign in a bid to eke a living.

While motorists and the general public have raised alarm over the unattended potholes, responsible authorities have remained puzzlingly silent on the issue. This has propelled youths to team up to fill the potholes in exchange for money.

263Chat spoke to Andrew Maphosa, a youth who resides in Budiriro suburb. He replicates many Zimbabwean youths who are desperately beating the odds in a bid to make ends meet.

For many young Zimbabweans like 22-year-old Maphosa, pothole filling has become a way to escape unemployment.

“We fill potholes using rubbles we collect from the CABS housing project in Budiriro.

“We use wheelbarrows to collect the rubbles and after we have collected enough we then start filling potholes and place stones across the street to force passing motorists to pay for the service,” said Maphosa.

Maphosa revealed that on a daily basis they collect appropriately $50. He however revealed that some motorist especially kombi drivers resist to pay and often bulldoze their way through the makeshift boom barrier.

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“Usually we collect around $50 and share it among the six of us,” said Maphosa

Tatenda Moyo, who heads another group which goes around filling potholes in Highfields, told 263Chat: “There are no jobs in the country hence we find ourselves seeking rubbles to fill potholes, as long the City Council is neglecting roads, so we will continue filling potholes as it is one of the ways we use to have money in our pockets.”

It is crystal clear that the government has nothing to offer to the impoverished youths in the country as youths continue to engage in the informal sector.

Youth unemployment continues to be a major problem in the country, where youths who make up the large proportion of the population are still without lucrative employment despite the 2 million jobs promised by the government in the last election.

There are no clear figures regarding the total number of unemployed youths especially those in the informal sector. However, in 2012 the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency said 3.7 million people out of the country’s 13.7 million Zimbabweans, worked in the informal sector.

In 2011, the Ministry of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment created the 11-million-dollar Youth Fund to assist young people to start self-help projects. This funding was however allegedly distributed on partisan basis which saw many youths failing to access the funds.

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Journalist based in Harare

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