ZIMBABWE Watch notes with concern that urban residents throughout the country have been complaining about Zinwaâ€™s take-over of their water supply system for some three years now.
Initially they tried to resist the takeover on the grounds that it was unnecessaryÂ since their municipalities had not failed to supply water it is only in such a situation that the Urban Councils Act (section 314) permits the minister to step in and takeover a cityâ€™s water supply.
Moreover, they pointed out that the infrastructure had been provided and paid for by the residents over the past hundred years,and they resented handing it all over to Zinwa with no recompense whatsoever.
The then Minister of State Water Resources and Infrastructural Development Munacho Mutezoâ€™s response was always to repeat that the takeover was a cabinet directive.
Once Zinwa took over, residents soon saw their water supply deteriorate in both quantity and quality, to the extent of their having to go without any water at all for days and even months at a time, endangering the health and lives of millions.
Zimbabwe Watch reminds the nation that the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Local Government presented a thorough report on its findings on Zinwa in March 2007 and made a strong recommendation that,since Zinwa clearly lacked the capacity to provide water in towns and cities, this directive should be reversed â€“â€“ but this was ignored.
Likewise the militant Combined Harare Residents Association issued numerous reports and objections to the Zinwa Harare takeover, all to no avail.
Masvingo residents even demonstrated against Zinwa taking over water supply, but their wishes were ignored.
The only city able to resist the takeover was Bulawayo.
Now Zinwa is back in the news for being unable to transport essential chemicals from Msasa to Norton and being unable to inoculate 1 500 of its workers in western Harare suburbs against tetanus and typhoid.
These employees work withraw sewage, but thousands of ordinary citizens live in constant contact with open, raw sewage and even drink such water. Zimbabwe Watch recalls Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono promising to give Zinwa a “special facility” in September last year of however much money they needed to sort out problemsso as to be able to provide the service we expect in our towns and cities.