MAINTENANCE workers at the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) this week downed tools to protest poor working conditions, worsening the plight of residents in the western parts of the capital who have gone for two weeks without water.
Zinwa workers told the Zimbabwe Independent that they went on strike on Monday after their employer refused to supply them with protective clothing when repairing burst water and blocked sewer pipes.
Â â€œWe have repeatedly told management to supply us with protective clothing but it seems our calls are falling on deaf ears,â€ said one of the employees who requested anonymity.
The workers said apart from failing to provide protective clothing, they also did not have proper
tools to carry out maintenance work.
Zinwaâ€™s water supplies director Douglas Kagoro yesterday declined to comment on the strike and water supply situation in the capital saying he was attending consultative meetings and that a press statement would soon be issued on the matter.
Residential areas which include Glen Norah, Glen View, Budiriro, Belvedere and some parts of the central business district, have gone for two weeks without water after a main pipe burst.
The water crisis has also affected operations at the Budiriro Polyclinic, which is a main referral centre for the cholera outbreak.
The United Nations Childrenâ€™s Fund (Unicef) has intervened in the affected areas by suppling water to residents in Budiriro, Glen View and Glen Norah.
However, the supplies were not enough to cater for all residents and this has resulted in some residents digging open wells.
Meanwhile, cholera figures released yesterday by the World Health Organisation (WHO) revealed that the epicentre of the outbreak seems to be moving away from Harare to other districts of the country.
Cumulative infections by Monday had reached 46 606 patients while at least 2 484 deaths had been recorded as a result of the water-borne disease.
The cholera outbreak, which started in August last year, has spilled across the borders of neighbouring countries such as South Africa, Mozambique and Malawi where several deaths have been reported.
BY LUCIA MAKAMURE