By Mbekezeli Ncube
WHILE a majority of Bulawayo residents have to deal with the reality of receiving running water once a week, it is a different story for Ward 27 in Pumula South’s Habek high density suburb where locals are about to cloak a year without water.
NewZimbabwe.com has learnt that the precious liquid last reached Habek taps in the early weeks of last year.
They now rely on the Bulawayo Water and Sanitation Response Programme in which city council bowsers are wheeled to their area to distribute the necessity once or twice a week.
In an interview with several residents from the area, they expressed their disappointment with the local authority they accuse of continuously exposing them to cholera and diarrhoea outbreaks through failure to restore uninterrupted water supplies.
Most of them also said they have witnessed several cases of sewage blockages due to lack of water.
“It has been months since we have received water and we are now relying on bowsers from the city council which bring us water weekly.
“Since it is alleged that city council workers are on strike; they have not brought the water since last week.
“Most of the people here now go to boreholes and for those who spend most of their time at work, it becomes very difficult,” said one resident by the name Kate Ngwirirai.
The bowsers also expose the community to Covid-19 as people queue for water with no social distancing and other safety precautions being observed.
Another resident who preferred to be called MaSibanda said she has experienced water problems from the first day she found accommodation in the area.
“Ever since we got here, I have always had problems with water because it would come very late at night and they close at 6 in the morning,” she said.
“We are about to reach a full year without running water. We need to stand up against this because we are really sick and tired.
“The more silent we are, the more relaxed the city council will be. What kind of fault lasts the whole year!” said a Sophie Mzila.
Bhekinkosi Khumalo accused the local councillor for allegedly abandoning his roles of ensuring residents were cushioned against the daily struggles of hunting for the scarce resource.
“All I can say is our councillor is a big let-down.
“He is aware of the situation at our place, but he does nothing to help. Also, the sewer system is highly affected by this problem because we report blockages time and again.
“One can easily see sewer waste flowing and making sludge in some places, posing a serious health hazard to the community.
“Some residents are now forced to use the bush to relieve themselves and iganga lingcolile (the bush is now filthy),” he said.
Habek also has a serious problem with drainage systems especially during the rainy season when water logging forces people to abandon their homes.
NewZimbabwe.com also spoke to the councillor Khumalo who professed ignorance over the crisis.
“That is a lie,” he said.
“There are areas which had problems with water and they have since been sorted out except two lines close to Premier High School and another line close to Umuzi kaNkulunkulu area.
“The council is doing something to alleviate that problem in those two areas. Now the issue is the strike, which is in motion, but it will be sorted.
“In those two places with no water, I have requested council plumbers to check the valves that side. After that, they will know the real problem of the area but before that we had pressure problems,” said Khumalo.