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Pressure mounts on BCC over water crisis

by Staff reporter
04 Mar 2024 at 04:43hrs | Views
BULAWAYO residents have given Bulawayo City Council (BCC) a one-week ultimatum to resolve the water crisis bedevilling the city.

The residents represented by Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) delivered a letter accusing the local authority of poor service delivery thereby violating their right to safe, clean and potable water as enshrined in Section 77(a) of the Constitution.

In the letter dated February 26 written by BPRA's lawyers Prisca Dube and Jabulani Mhlanga of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, the residents complained that the water crisis has reached alarming levels with some suburbs experiencing three-week periods without the precious liquid.

"The water crisis has resulted in key critical public institutions such as medical facilities and institutions of learning without alternative water sources such as boreholes, requesting residents and students to bring water from their homes to use and this has a negative impact on service delivery," the letter read.

The residents appealed to Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development minister Anxious Masuka, in terms of Section 61 of the Water Act to declare the water crisis a state of disaster.

"The perennial water crisis in Bulawayo, which is persisting at a time when the country is grappling with a devastating cholera outbreak, warrants that a state of disaster be declared by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in terms of Section 27 of the Civil Protection Act before innocent lives are lost," said the residents.

"The declaration would allow for the necessary relief to be afforded to alleviate the local authority's current water crisis and hopefully pave way for a long-term solution."

The residents demanded to be furnished with information on the steps and measures that council and other relevant stakeholders, including government, are taking to address the crisis within seven days.

The letter did not, however, state what action the residents will take if their demands were not met within the seven days.

The letter was copied to Bulawayo mayor David Coltart, permanent secretary in the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs, Bulawayo, permanent secretary in the Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development's ministry, permanent secretary in the Local Government, Public Works and National Housing ministry and Office of the President and Cabinet.

BCC is yet to respond to the letter.

Masuka, who visited Bulawayo on Monday last week, however, said the government could not declare Bulawayo a water crisis area.

He said government had appointed a technical committee in terms of Zimbabwe National Water Authority and Water Acts to assist the City of Bulawayo in ensuring that residents have adequate, safe and affordable water.

Masuka said the government needed to be well-informed about dam levels in Bulawayo before declaring the city a water crisis zone.

Source - southern eye