Bulawayo Residents Withdraw High Court Application Against Council Over Typhoid Deaths

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

THE Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) has withdrawn its High Court suit against the Bulawayo City Council for allegedly causing the deaths of 12 people and illness to more than 1 500 Luveve residents in the city due to outbreak typhoid.

BPRA and one of the victims, Chrispen Ngulube last week approached the High Court seeking an order directing council to release laboratory samples of tap water and other vital information relating to the diarrhoea outbreak in Luveve and surrounding suburbs.

However, the matter, which had been set for hearing last Friday, failed to kick off after the residents, through their lawyers filed a notice of withdrawal.

“Take note that parties in this matter have reached an amicable resolution. Applicants, therefore, withdraw this matter,” reads part of the withdrawal letter signed by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR).

One of the lawyers, Jabulani Mhlanga declined to shed more light on the withdrawal deal, but is reliably informed the parties had a meeting last week during which the city council promised to avail the required information.

In their application, the residents wanted council to avail complete copies of records of laboratory test results for samples of potted and municipal tap water taken from various containers and unspecified residences between May 17 to the date of the issue of the order.

They also wanted the council to avail records and documents related to routine maintenance, inspection, and repair schedules of water infrastructure including freshwater and sewer pipes for Luveve for the period between January 1 to June 25, 2020.

The Luveve typhoid death toll has reached 13 following the death of a Grade Four pupil last week.

Tests done at private laboratories have linked the deaths to symptoms consistent with typhoid and dysentery.

A 144-hour weekly shedding programme implemented by council as part of measures to conserve the city’s dwindling water supplies has been largely blamed for the outbreak.