City, res­i­dents clash over wa­ter cuts

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - National News - In­no­cent Ruwende Se­nior Re­porter

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.

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