By Leopold Munhende
HARARE’s cholera prone high density suburb of Glen View is bracing for an outbreak of the waterborne killer disease after officials from the local authority disconnected water from some residents over non-payment of bills.
Community Water Alliance (CWA) programmes manager Hardlife Mudzingwa in an interview with NewZimbabwe.com warned of imminent danger if nothing is done to resolve an already desperate situation that could force residents to access water from unprotected wells.
“We are witnessing arbitrary water disconnections in Harare that are being effected by City of Harare officials. It is quite sad because Glen View is a cholera hotspot and we have the local authority disconnecting residents from supplies that are already erratic.
“The expectation is that city council has to stop arbitrary water disconnections for Glen View and Budiriro because we have several cases that are being reported of typhoid at local clinics,” said Mudzingwa.
But Harare City Council defended its move.
“It is part of our enforcement towards bill payment. We need money for service delivery and water delivery needs to be paid for to achieve sustainable service delivery.
“If you have read the Auditor General’s report you would see that Harare has been criticised for failing to collect revenue and government is also echoing the same sentiments,” said an official in the city’s public relations department Innocent Ruwende.
“The city uses over US$18 million a month to treat water. So if residents do not pay, it will be underfunded. We are also owed nearly US$900 million by business and residents.”
Mudzingwa, who happens to live in the high-density suburb, said if a solution is not found early, lives are at risk and a repeat of last year’s outbreak that claimed over 50 people could be experienced.
“This spells danger for the community. There is no other evidence you need to convince you that we are now in danger of another outbreak.
“The disconnections are effected using government Notice 164 of 1913. We are in 2019 and we are still being governed by laws crafted as far back as 1913. Councillors in Harare have done nothing to help and make sure their laws conform to provisions contained in the Constitution of Zimbabwe relating to the human rights and access to water,” said Mudzingwa.