Zimbabwe: High Court Orders Council to Provide Mutare Residents With Potable Water During Lockdown

Hand sanitiser (file photo).
9 April 2020

A High judge has granted an order to Mutare City Council to provide regular supply of clean and potable water to its residents during the COVID-19 lockdown period following an appeal by residents.

Justice Hlekani Mwayera made a ruling against the municipality on April 8 after a resident from Dangamvura, Ephraim Matanda together with the United Mutare Residents Ratepayers Trust (UMRRT) approached the courts.

In their application the residents prayed to the courts to compel Mutare City council to provide regular supply of clean and portable water during the lockdown period and also in the event of natural disasters.

The residents also sought to have another order for Mutare City Council to publish a revised water rationing schedule that would ensure the regular supply of clean and portable tap water.

Passmore Nyakureba of Maunga, Maanda Associates who was represented Matanda confirmed the new development yesterday stating that the order encompasses times of natural disasters and the current 21 day lockdown.

In her judgment Justice Mwayera ordered that the city publishes a revised water schedule, for all affected areas in the city including Dangamvura, within 72 hours to be published in a local weekly paper by 10 April.

Mwayera in her order granted said "The first respondent (Mutare City Council) shall within the next 72 hours publish a revised water rationing schedule for the regular tap water to the first Applicant (Ephraim Matanda) and residents of Dangamvura high density suburb and any other affected areas within the municipal area of Mutare City Council.

"The first respondent Mutare City Council shall publish its revised water rationing scheduled referred to in paragraph number 1 above in the Manica Post newspaper issue of April 10, 2020,"reads part of the judgment.

Mutare City Council is failing to provide regular supply of clean and portable tap water to its residents, losing over 60% percent of its total volumes supplied according to Auditor General Mildred Chiri in the 2018 Local Authorities Audit report.

Chiri made recommendations that city council 'find ways of reducing non-revenue/ non-billed water' a situation arising due to faulty pipes and dilapidated infrastructure, as the city has 15 872 non-functional water meters.

"I noted that 67% of the Council's treated water (22 677 156 cubic meters) was not billed as it was lost mainly due to leakages, non-metered connections and accounts not created in the system," read part of the report.

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