Former deputy mayor blasts government over water supplies


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A former deputy mayor of Bulawayo Clr Angilacala Ndlovu has blasted the government for ignoring the city’s water problem and said its priorities were warped.

Speaking during a heated debate on whether the council should introduce a water levy or not to augment its supplies, Ndlovu said it was the responsibility of the government and not the local authority to provide the city with water. It was therefore very disappointing to be told that the government had no money.

The council needs $3.4 trillion and about US$3.4 million to augment its water supplies. The bulk of the money is for the construction of a 37km pipeline linking Mtshabezi and Umzingwane dams. It also needs money to rehabilitate 44 boreholes in the Nyamandlovu aquifer and another 20 boreholes in Epping Forest.

The Director of Engineering Services Peter Sibanda said the government had advised the council that it did not have any money for the schemes.

Some councillors opposed the introduction of the levy arguing that residents were already overburdened. The chairman of the Future Water Supplies and Water Action Committee, Clr Peter Mangena, said he was not sure what the debate was about because the idea of introducing a levy had come from residents and not from councillors.

Clr Ndlovu said he could not understand why the government had the audacity to tell the council that it did not have money when it had paid the International Monetary Fund US$120 million when people little expected it.

“This is very disappointing. Only a few months ago the government paid the IMF US$120 million but now it is telling us it is not able to pay US$3.4 million for the pipeline. This is unacceptable considering what the council had to go through to supply its residents with water,” he said.

Sibanda said though the water position was slightly better than last year, problems would arise in September-October and some areas would experience water shortages.

Last year several high-density suburbs went without water for months and had to be supplied with bowsers. The government has the responsibility to supply the country with water through the Zimbabwe National Water Authority.

 

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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