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Harare City Council suspends fibre optic trenching

Like us, you probably woke up to the news that Tendai Mahachi (Harare’s Town Clerk) announced that the City Council has suspended all fibre optic trenching activities in the city. The reason for this was attributed to a breach of agreement on the part of some telecommunications operators and their contractors. The city custodians assert that the operators have been digging holes and trenches all over the place without rehabilitating the trenches.

Whilst we appreciate this effort by the City Council to enforce the city’s by-laws are adhered to, it too has been notorious for digging up holes and never covering them up. I remember a young man who nearly lost his mind after dropping his ‘state of the art’ mobile phone down in what appeared like a mineshaft within the CBD.

The same city council is responsible for potholes best suited for the 4×4 Jamboree. And yet the bills keep coming… Perhaps they should consider suspending themselves for some of their own acts of misdemeanour.

We have contacted companies we know to be laying significant tracts of fibre and will update this post when they comment on this.


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21 thoughts on “Harare City Council suspends fibre optic trenching

  1. While I whole heartedly agree that the council should do a better job on its own holes this is a good move, in Zimbabwe we all to often accept a second rate job and people making a quick buck off the public, this includes the network operators who dont repair the trenches they dig every where.  The roads are being ruined and my car along with it.

    Coincidentally a group of people were bitching about this this weekend, some even recommended digging up trenches that were not repaired properly and cutting the cable to send a message to the network operators this would not be tolerated.  Good thing the council seems to be sending the message for us…

    1. Vandalism is never an answer mate. You could be cutting your next cellular call. The problem I have with Council’s move is it is a knee-jerk reaction at best with no consideration for the grave economic consquences from such a move.

      They should use some that $10mil+ in IAP license remittances sitting at Potraz to establish a fully fledged task-force to police errant service providers. 

    2. “Good thing the council seems to be sending the message for us..” Really what is that a joke? The Harare council is the most inept council there ever was. Examples of their ineptitude are littered all across town for all to see and they have the gall to put the brakes on an infrastructure that is so critical to the economy and survival of many. Simply stupid! The only thing I can think of is that this daft council is looking for a bribe from those companies laying out fibre. It should put its dilapidated and stinking house in order first before dabbling in matters it hasn’t got a clue on.

  2. Good but if only council would cover their own holes it would be great. They dug a huge right by my durawall and a few more millimetres of rain will take it down..

  3. It was long overdue for sure but themselves (City Council) are the main culprits for sure.
    One observation is a manhole which is at corner of Lytton/Stirling roads opposite LionMatches and Lever Brothers which had been left open for almost a year now. Sometime there was a maize cob which had grow to ripe stage in that hole.
    So they shouldn’t point fingers at others not seeing how many are pointing at themselves………..FOOD FOR THOUGHT!!!!

    1. @5f6bc7161bd6362fe42be21d2060c999:disqus you take the prize for melodramatic descriptions; maize cobs grown to full stage. lol!

  4. I dont think the answer lies in suspending or banning trenching. We badly need the investment and the internet bandwidth that comes with it. 

    I think what the council need to do is to reinforce the by-laws that govern the trenching. If you get a permit, you put up your trench, you must be liable for covering it up – period – and the COH should be policing and bringing to book those who are not abiding by these rules – not to suspend altogether. We want the fibre to get to all corners of the city and the country. 

    By banning the trenching, they are infact rewarding those who were careless and reckless enough not to abide by the by-laws. These already have the infrastructure in the ground – now what about others who would want to put in theirs, and were probably going to cover theirs?

    I am not saying what the telcoms companies are doing is good – Im saying the answer lies with the COH to make sure these companies cover their tracks after doing their thing – we have others following, who will need to do the same.

    This brings me to the other contentious issue of infrastructure sharing, which i wont go into – but which I hope these ppl would seriously consider – not like having 10 cable running along the same road – why not just share? Just wondering – maybe it should solve this problem after all.

  5. this usually happens when somebody have not been paid a cut. Some of the dams in the midst of roads might be infested with crocodiles, why now? Who benefits from such a directive? Not the public. Who is going to cover those holes? This is a reactive directive which have nothing to do with solving the actual problem. We need those cables in the ground for future use and Mahachi should have put a mandatory punitive fee for those doing a hit and run job. Or how about setting a team of city infrastructure engineers who will go and cover up the trenches after to there standards and charge telcos for the job.

  6. Has anyone heard of Trench Moles? The operators should start using them to bore holes under the roads instead of digging through them.

    1. Yeah bro, I have seen this done. No need to trench the little tarred we have. just do the molling and no one cries foul. I think the major culprits are our own Museyamwa type of contractors who want the cash and take short cuts on the job at hand. look at the toll gates, 3 years, none have been completed,  I dont think it needs more than a month to erect a toll gate. We used to call it Chikasai…………..pretending to do what yu are assigned to do (while actually covering up your shit tichisakura.) lol

      1. Rumor has it that city fathers banned mechanical diggers (trenching moles) two reasons 1. Poor planning its a mess down there…. Power/water/copper crisscrossing… These innovative Machines will cut anything in its path..
        2. Manual labor = job creation

    1. dude thats clever, instead destroying our roads they cld simply use those trench moles but l ges they are coslty

  7. You know if the Hre City Council was Smart/Clever they would dig one just one trench and make all the ISPs/IAPs rent that for the fibre they lay in there – or make all the ISPs come together to dig up trenches ONCE and have a unified trench. We all know that all this digging and laying is going to cost one person in the end (ME & YOU a.k.a. the consumer)

    Realy this trenching of fibre was NOT PLANNED COMPETANTLY and has not been monitored

    ITS REDICULOUS

  8. The City of Ha-ha-harare should not choose the easy way out.  Their duty is not merely to dictate terms to those trenching companies, but also to actively monitor compliance with relevant laws, and enforce the laws by taking the necessary remedial action even if it means rehabilitating the trenches themselves and charging the culprits.
    Further the council should, as suggested earlier, have dug one network of trenches into which all the operators would lay their cables, for a fee of course. It would work out much better for all concerned not least the council for all the money it would stand to gain since effectively it would recieve all the cash flowing to all those contracted to do the trenches.
    There most probably is someone employed full time to plan and implement things like this but they are napping in their offices … 

  9. Great subject, very disappointing article, saved by the commentators. Thanks to Jiffa for that new info. I agree with “Not Amused” and Mr Shumba. Since all that digging was subject to City approval I don’t see why the city couldn’t take over and invest in a single comprehensive infrastructure to be rented out to all the IAPs instead of allowing the mass destruction of our roads. I don’t know how things are supposed to work but it just seems so obvious. I wonder how it is in other City/Town Councils? -probably the same.

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