Urban and rural councils will share $2.9 billion to boost water and sanitation with special priority on ensuring every school has a borehole.
Announcing the new disbursement of devolution funds, Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo said every local authority was expected to receive its share before the end of the year.
“Government has deliberately increased devolution funds from last year’s $703 million to $2,9 billion this year with emphasis on water and sanitation provision. I urge all councils to look at water provision first before anything else.
“If possible, they should channel all the funds towards drilling boreholes and maintenance of water supply sources so that our people can access clean water, which is a fundamental right,” said Minister Moyo.
Minister Moyo said it was important for schools to have boreholes and clean running water to reduce the spread of Covid-19.
“Rural authorities should thus work together with chiefs to drill boreholes in local schools.
“The aim is to have at least a borehole in every school so that we improve hygiene especially in the face of Covid-19. The same should also happen in urban schools. There should be a provision of clean water and this should be a priority.”
Minister Moyo’s calls for the provision of clean water comes at a time when most local authorities are struggling to provide clean water to residents. Water supplies in Harare are erratic with many suburbs going for long periods without water. Bulawayo has perennial water challenges with most schools resorting to the sinking of boreholes.
Bulawayo City Council senior public relations officer Mrs Nesisa Mpofu recently told The Herald that most schools had water tanks and boreholes.
“We are in consultation with various stakeholders to ensure that water is availed to schools so that learning is not disrupted. We have addressed challenges at the schools we were told had challenges,” she said.
In the Midlands, Gweru and Redcliff municipalities have been failing to pump water to residents with some areas going for more than five months with no running water.
Meanwhile, Minister Moyo on Friday donated stationery and hand sanitisers to schools in Silobela.
Pupils from early childhood development classes to Upper Sixth from the 38 schools in Redcliff constituency each received 12 exercise books while 708 teachers got four counter books each.
Minister Moyo said the gesture was meant to motivate both learners and teachers.
“We know the challenges that the parents face in providing stationery for children so the gesture is meant to motivate both the learners and their teachers.
“Those that will be sitting for their examinations will have to listen and follow online lessons and write somewhere hence the move to donate books,” said Minister Moyo.