Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
The Community Youth Development Trust (CYDT) has petitioned Parliament to help resolve the water crisis in Gwanda Town, the Matabeleland South provincial capital.
Residents have not been getting clean water since January. The water woes are a result of a protracted war between the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) and Gwanda Municipality, which started in 2012.
The parastatal is seeking to recover a $10 million debt from the local authority, which argues that it owes only $3 million.
The development has seen Zinwa installing prepaid bulk water meters, accompanied by a tight water rationing programme in the town. Gwanda has an estimated population of 60 000, with 10 schools, a provincial hospital, a Government complex and Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Polytechnic College, which houses hundreds of students.
CYDT’s programmes and information manager Ms Linda Mpofu said the water situation had become deplorable. She said they decided to petition Parliament after engaging both Zinwa and Gwanda Municipality without success.
Other stakeholders that were part of the petition to Parliament were the Women Development Association in Zimbabwe, the Positive Women Trust, Gwanda Community Economic Justice Development Trust, and the Restoration of Human Rights of Zimbabwe.
Reads part of the petition: “It is disturbing that Gwanda town’s residents have been effectively deprived of their constitutionally guaranteed right to water, which has affected their right to life, the right to human dignity, freedom from inhuman and degrading treatment, environment among others. “Zinwa has been reluctant to hand back the water treatment plant to Gwanda Municipality despite them (municipality) having the capacity to operate and maintain the treatment plant as is obtaining in other towns.”
The CYDT said it was worried by Zinwa’s persistence with water disconnection. “Parliament should exercise its constitutional role and investigate the listed issues; the dual administration of water by Gwanda Municipality and Zinwa, and Zinwa’s dragging over handing back the water treatment plant to the municipality.”