21 Years On, Caledonia Residents Beg Govt For Water, Sewer System

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By Leopold Munhende

SOME 30 000 households in Caledonia have been living without access to clean water and sewer for the past 21 years and after various failed attempts to remedy their crisis, they say the situation is now getting out of hand.

Originally an informal settlement on the outskirts of Harare, government moved in 2017 to regularise it.

Promises that schools, clinics, proper roads and servicing would be built are still to be met.

“Seventeen years on, no servicing is being done, roads are impassable; worse during the rainy season.

“There is no water and people have resorted to digging wells which are not healthy as the same stands also have septic tanks,” said Wellington Chirimba, Caledonia Residents Association Trust secretary.

“There is nothing in terms of service delivery here and the situation is now so bad we do not know if government still remembers us.

“There are no schools or clinics here.”

Early 2017, late former President Robert Mugabe moved Caledonia from Goromonzi Rural District Council to the Harare City Council’s management in attempts to speed up development in the area.

The city was then under Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni.

Manyenyeni appeared before a parliamentary committee during his tenure where he indicated the cash strapped city had been put in a tight situation by the president.

Under the arrangement, Caledonia was supposed to have been drawing water from Mabvuku-Tafara reservoir which itself struggles to provide for residents.

“The status of our preparedness to service Caledonia is not going to be pleasant because we are currently failing to supply Harare main,” said Manyenyeni then.

“Caledonia is an illegal settlement that is already there and the question is what the way forward is, notwithstanding that we are battling to provide services for our Harare residents.

“I would say Caledonia must be declared a disaster so that appropriate resources are applied to bring speedy solutions.”

Chirimba told residents were not getting any communication from both government and council.

He added, “We are getting nothing from council or the ministry. We hear the ministry is now setting up a body specifically for Caledonia but we do not have that information from official sources.

“After having been asked to pay US$50 each per month by cooperatives operating here, we thought some development will be realised but nothing has changed. In fact, it is getting worse by the day.”

Manyenyeni’s suggestions to parliament that cooperatives be banned in Caledonia were ignored.