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The Kwekwe City Council has had to halt its solar-powered street light project after it failed to raise enough funds required to deploy the project.

The Herald reported that the City Council last year announced plans to raise $200,000 for the installation of solar-powered street lights to cut down on its electricity bill.

As a result, the council proposed that each of the 25,000 households in the city would contribute 50 cents per month, however it failed short to reach the set target.

Speaking during a recent council meeting, Kwekwe City Treasurer Rejoice Maweni explained that the project has stalled due to the unavailability of funds.

"We have failed to raise the targeted funds for the project because people are not forthcoming with their contributions," said Maweni.

She said council is considering channelling the $52,000 raised to date to repairs of the available electricity powered-street lights.

"The money we have raised for the project so far is insignificant because it is enough for only three or four solar-powered street lights.

Repair of existing street lights

Maweni continued: "Instead, we were thinking of using the money to repair the existing power lights. At least, we will cover more ground.”

She said the temptation was to use ratepayers' money to fund the project, a move the local authority wanted to avoid by all means. Read more: Zimbabwean power utility installs new transformers to boost supply

Kwekwe City Treasurer said some lights have recently been repaired, but these were damaged by cars that rammed into them.

"In fact, we had covered so much ground in the repairs along the CBD and Gweru Road, but we are facing serious challenges from vehicles that are damaging the lights through accidents," she said.

On the other hand, Kwekwe Mayor Councillor Matenda Madzoke, urged council to stick to the plan saying it was ideal to install a few solar-powered street lights than repair old electric powered tower lights.

"I suggest we proceed with purchasing the few solar-powered lights because we are assured of less vandalism and they are durable. If we buy three this month, maybe four the following month, it will sustain us," Madzoke argued.

African Utility Week