Zimbabwe: Council Disconnects Non-Paying Water Users

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(File photo).

Harare has embarked on a massive water disconnection drive targeting non-paying residents, a decision feared to have serious health implications as the city is battling water-borne diseases.

The municipality had by last week disconnected at least 30 houses in Glen View with plans to spread to other areas.

In an interview, Harare town clerk Engineer Hosiah Chisango defended council's move to disconnect water.

"We need to strike a balance as the costs of treating water are now huge, we have to enforce payments," he said.

Harare mayor councillor Herbert Gomba also weighed in justifying the municipality's position.

"Truth is both non-payments and disconnection cause health problems within the city. Non-payment causes unavailability of money which is critical in the purchase of water chemicals and then causes diseases," he said.

"Disconnections are very unnecessary in a situation where residents pay particularly now that our infrastructure is old and needs replacements."

Community Water Alliance (CWA) director, Mr Hardlife Mudzingwa took a swipe at the council saying arbitrary water disconnections by their nature are retrogressive as the Constitution under Section 77 (a) talks about progressive realisation of the human right to water.

"It is obvious that (water disconnections) they do have health implications because remember we are under a situation where water is scarce and we have heard cases of typhoid and cholera in our suburbs."

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