Gweru City Council and Zimbabwe Electricity Distribution Company Must Account for the Acute Citywide Water Shortages!

26 April 2019Press Statement:

Gweru City Council and Zimbabwe Electricity Distribution Company Must Account for the Acute Citywide Water Shortages! The Gweru Residents Forum (GRF) is saddened to learn that the generality of the 18 wards Gweru has not received portable water since Wednesday 24 April 2019 to date and the acute water shortage situation is likely to persist over the weekend with no short to medium term solution in place. This development comes against a recent typhoid outbreak which claimed innocent lives as a result of the poor and water sanitation conditions. What is equally dismaying is the deafening silence by the City Fathers and council management to give adequate explanation on what the water provision challenges are as the issue is shrouded in mystery whilst residents bear the brunt of toiling around boreholes in search of the portable water. Informal reports emanating from Gweru Town House indicates that that there is an electrical power outages at Gwenhoro water works and the electrical fault has not been located so far leaving the generality of the residents stranded . The silence by both Gweru City Council and Zimbabwe Electricity Distribution and Transmission Company (ZETDC) to give an official statement on the state of affairs on the ongoing water disaster exhibits the magnitude of the lack of accountability and responsiveness to the stakeholders of these two public utilities. This development occurs against the spirit of the 2013 Zimbabwean Constitution Section 194(1h) which compels public entities to foster transparency by providing the public with timely, accessible and accurate information.In essence Gweru City Council is already failing to provide adequate water supplies with some areas such as Mkoba 15 and 19 having gone for over 10 years without consistent supply of portable water in their households. In addition paltry allocation or lack thereof of foreign currency for the purchase of the water treatment by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has further compounded the water challenges in Gweru City and other cities. In addition some views from the City Engineering services Department that the pipes are worn out has become a perennial excuse for the non delivery of portable water to Gweru households. Outcries from the city fathers are that the water treatment chemicals are expensive GCC charge sub-economic rates. However the key question is that has Gweru City Council exhausted the water provision budget and so far the water account has not been exhausted. The Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment No. 20 (2013) Chapter 5(c) mandates the local authorities Gweru included to present and manage the affairs of the people. However the City of Gweru has failed to manage the case of acess to portable water and water shortages. This is a huge dissapointment as Gweru City Council fail to at least give an offical position on what is happening to Gweru portable water. The Gweru Residents Forum strongly believe that Gweru city council should at least inform the residents of the state of affairs so that that people are able to plan on how best they can access water at alternatives sources. The GRF calls upon • Gweru City Council to ensure transparency,accountability ,timely and accurate delivery of information to residents at all times in line with Constitutional provisions.• ZETDC to expedite the repairs of the power outages at Gwenhoro Water treatment plant to avert a potential water borne disease crisis such as Cholera and Typhoid in public spaces such as bus termini among other locations• GCC to ensure the delivery of water bowsers at strategic points inorder to improve acess to portable water by all residents • GCC to clarify the real challenges in so far as the portable water provision in Gweru City is concerned • GCC to put on high alert emergency medical response teams to respond to water borne diseases such as Typhoid and Cholera • Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to expedite the relase of foreign currency for the purchase of water treatment chemicals for urban councils