City, residents clash over water cuts
HARARE City Council has clashed with residents over the “arbitrary” disconnections of water in the western suburbs with the later accusing the city of violating their human rights and ignoring payment plans they made.
The Combined Harare Residents Association yesterday urged council to follow the proper procedures of disconnecting supplies to residents.
“The City of Harare disconnected water supplies to several Mufakose residents without giving them prior notice. Residents expressed concern that they were not notified of the disconnections and are mulling a court challenge against the disconnections,” said Chra.
“Some of the residents said they had made payment plans with the Harare City Council and were paying their bills according to the payment plans, yet the council proceeded to disconnect them. Chra implores the Harare City Council to follow proper procedure before disconnecting water supplies to residents.”
The residents association said any action that contradicts proper procedure amounts to rights violations.
The Community Water Alliance said the majority of affected residents had debts averaging $200.
“Documents in our possession reveal that residents have been paying monthly amounts between $20 and $40. A touching story is that of Alice Mtanje of No 23 Dada Road Mufakose. Alice pays around $40 to $50 per month to City of Harare,” it said.
“Alice was diagnosed with High Blood Pressure. After water disconnections and a day without water she had diarrhoea and was treated at a local clinic.
“She claims that what she is paying is not being deducted from her bill. She approached the local district office of the City of Harare and she was not given any help.”
Harare corporate communications manager Mr Michael Chideme yesterday said failure to pay for water was a violation of the rights of the majority, who will fail to access a commodity when funding for the provision of water dries up.
“It is one thing to cry out loud over rights to water and another to ensure that the right to water is guaranteed through payment of water bills. The issue of notice should never take priority because once you consume the water it is a given that you should pay for it,” he said.
“Anybody advocating right to water should use the same energy to encourage residents to pay so that the right is perpetually guaranteed. In the case of individuals with bills they cannot settle at once our doors are open they should make payment plans.”
He said those with payments should adhere to the agreed conditions failure of which their water will be disconnected.