Constant Water Supplies During COVID-19 Lockdown Not Urgent Court Matters – Judge

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

THE High Court has ruled as not urgent, an application brought before it by Hwange residents seeking an order for Hwange Colliery Company Limited (HCCL) to provide constant water supplies during the 21-day lockdown period.

High Court judge, Evangelista Kabasa presided over an application which also listed as respondents, the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) for the provision of constant water supplies.

Through their lawyer, Godfrey Nyoni of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), the Greater Hwange Residents Trust also cited as respondents, Health Minister Obadiah Moyo, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube, Water Minister Perrance Shiri and Local Government Minister July Moyo.

The residents argued that the water crisis in the coal mining town was a breeding ground for the spread of the global COVID-19 pandemic and other water-borne diseases such as cholera as residents were finding it difficult to maintain hygienic standards.

“Water is key in the fight against the deadly coronavirus. The situation is bad and creating a health hazard for Hwange and Zimbabwe at large. It is difficult for residents to maintain high standards of hygiene when there is no water,” the residents said in their court application.

The residents group had also argued that desperate rate payers were now involuntarily violating the lockdown regulations by leaving their homes in search of water for domestic use.

However, Justice Kabasa dismissed the application, saying it was not urgent.

She ruled that residents had been experiencing constant water crisis since 2017 and should have acted then and the outbreak of COVID-19 does not make the need for water urgent.