Zimbabwe: Byo Councillors Clash With Management Over Water Disconnections

Photo: The Herald

Bulawayo councillors and management staff are headed for a collision course after the latter disconnected water supplies to residents without the approval of the city fathers.

Last month, the local authority disconnected water supplies to rate payers who had failed to service their debts to the local authority.

The action was taken despite a standing council resolution that bars the local authority from disconnecting water supplies to residents.

Also angered by the decision was the ruling Zanu PF party which claimed that water supplies to White City Stadium - where the party held its ill-fated rally on June 23 - had been disconnected.

While addressing the crowd at the rally, President Emmerson Mnangagwa blasted the council and urged party supporters to vote out the opposition-led council.

According to the latest council minutes, the city fathers were not happy with the decision saying it was implemented at the wrong time.

Economic problems

"Councillor Charles Moyo was concerned with the on-going water disconnections," read the report in part.

"Residents were already indebted to council due to the current economic situation which Zimbabwe was going through.

"He said disconnecting water during this period would have a negative impact on council considering the current political events that the nation was going through, the timing was all wrong.

"He recalled that there was a standing Council resolution not to disconnect water, however that resolution was never implemented".

Other members of the Finance and Development Committee also concurred with Councillor Moyo.

Management defiant

"Alderman Clayton Zana also sought clarification on who had ordered staff to disconnect water because Councillors had passed a resolution against the exercise," the report read.

The city's finance director however, told the committee that the local authority had no funds to offer quality service delivery hence the decision to disconnect water to force owing residents to settle their debts.

The councillors then ordered that water disconnections be suspended until August 31, 2018 and that the finance director will submit a financial report showing the impact of writing off 50 percent of debt owed by ratepayers.

City fathers also passed a resolution that council management apologise to residents in writing through the media.

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