17 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Thursday, 17 January 2013 - Issue 501

press release

The MDC controlled Norton Town Council has started constructing a US$19 million water plant project set to benefit the town's estimated 100 000 residents. The town's council chairperson, Albert Zinyemba today said work on the water project had started after the contractor was paid his deposit and the project is expected to last for three months.

On completion, the water reservoir will have a capacity of pumping 40 mega litres into Norton town daily. Currently, the town has been getting its water supplies from the City of Harare and it owes the Harare municipality over US$1,5 million for unpaid water supplies.

The water project was approved by Hon. Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, the Minister of Water Resources, Development and Management last year. Chairperson Zinyemba said Norton residents and businesses utilised 20 mega litres of water a day and the surplus of 20 mega litres they get from the 40 mega litres will be sold to the City of Harare and Zimplats in Selous.

A separate water plant with a capacity to pump out five mega litres will also be installed in the town soon. This is after the council sought assistance from a Germany organisation, GIZ. The plant is expected to get its water from Darwendale Dam bringing the total water capacity generated by Norton Town Council to 45 mega litres.

Chairperson Zinyemba said the town had also acquired Railway Farm 30 for use as a dumping site and a cemetery. The farm measures 500 hectares. The existing cemetery is running out of space while the council was using ex-Hunyani lagoons for its dumping purposes.

Meanwhile, Hon. Greenbate Dongo, the MDC Chitungwiza provincial spokesperson who is also the MP for Goromonzi South has condemned insensitive eviction of farm workers from Mara Farm in Ruwa on Monday, last week, by armed riot police officers.

The farm is owned by a Zanu PF supporter Edward Dube and over 20 families have been affected by his move.

Hon. Dongo said; "The farm workers are being treated like slaves. These people deserve their dignity and respect in this country. The farm has been their home since 1993 so they cannot just be evicted without notice and pay.

"I have since made an appeal to government and other relevant authorities to protect the farm workers because after the chaotic land grabbing exercise, they were left vulnerable to an extent they are working for nothing, while others have been exposed to the vagaries of the climate. They are living in the open and with the current rains, they have children who are not going to school and there are some who are handicapped living in the open," Hon Dongo said.

The families said that since Dube acquired the farm in 2005, he had been underpaying them and he evicted them after they demanded their outstanding dues. The former workers said they could not access food or water from the farm and the police were blocking them from entering the farm.

Hon. Dongo called for humanitarian assistance from well-wishers and said he is frantically trying to get help for the affected families who have been staying in the open for the past two weeks.

"I am working on getting food, clothing and even plastics for their shelter because they are staying in the open and its raining heavily everyday. I am appealing to various communities to assist these 20 families who have nowhere to go. We children there as well and the conditions are not appropriate for them to live in the open," Hon. Dongo said.

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