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Gweru runs out of water treatment chemicals

by Staff reporter
03 May 2020 at 09:06hrs | Views
CASH-strapped Gweru City Council has announced that it is left with water treatment chemicals that can only last until tomorrow.

The local authority did not renew its contract with its supplier whom it owes more than $1 million in outstanding payment.

The dire situation has been exacerbated by the supplier who is now demanding payment upfront in addition to the balance before they could supply chemicals to the local authorities.

Gweru City Council needs more than $2 million to procure the chemicals and clear the outstanding payment, council said.

This is despite the local authority collecting a paltry $1,2 million after billing residents $36 million, part of which was used to pay salaries.

Mayor Councillor Josiah Makombe was furious during an urgent meeting held last Thursday where the management informed the council that they had run out of chemicals to treat water and that chemicals could only last up to Monday.

Clr Makombe has demanded a report from acting Town Clerk Mr Douglas Chikwekwe on why management informed councillors late on the eve of the 1 May holiday which is followed by a weekend making it difficult for the local authority to mobilise resources on time to procure the chemicals.

In an interview after the meeting, Clr Makombe attributed the crisis to poor planning by the council management.

"I received a call from the Acting Town Clerk (Douglas Chikwekwe) around 3pm on Thursday requesting an urgent meeting. I was then informed in the meeting that 'we' are left with four days of water chemicals. We then called all chairpersons of committees and informed them that we have no money to procure the chemicals to treat our water. This is poor management by the council management. I'm tempted to believe what came out in the skills audit report that the majority of the management have no capacity to hold the positions they have," he said.

Clr Makombe said council coffers had run dry after failing to generate enough revenue to pay its employees.

"We do not have money as council at the moment. We managed to pay some of our employees their salaries while the management has not yet received their money. We collected $1,2 million last month from a potential $36 million which we had billed people. Our monthly demand for chemicals is $800 000. We also owe our supplier more than $1 million. We are also paying our workers from that same amount.

It's a crisis now. I am in Harare trying to mobilise resources and talk to our suppliers. If nothing materialises it means we might not have water," he said.

Source - sundaynews