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Underground stream floods Harare Town House

by Staff reporter
11 Apr 2024 at 08:30hrs | Views
A major disaster is looming at Town House as the basement has been filled up with water seeping through from an underground stream that flows under Julius Nyerere Way.

The city's historical documents, which have been archived there for years are at risk of being destroyed as the water has filled the whole basement.

So dire is the situation that power utility, Zesa Holdings, has ordered the local authority to switch off power to avoid a possible fire outbreak.

However, the council has been adamant, reportedly defying switching off completely and opting to use a generator.

Two pumps that are traditionally used to drain the water in the event it seeped through cracks on the foundation are malfunctioning, resulting in the water flowing freely into the building.

Harare Mayor Councillor Jacob Mafume yesterday said they have since contacted the National Archives of Zimbabwe and the National Art Gallery to help save the documents.

"There has been a problem, remember there has been a lot of rain and there are cracks in the basement through which water seeped into the building. So we were going to pump it out as the city council using our water pumps.

"We had a meeting with the National Archives and the Art Gallery because there are some documents that are in that basement, historical documents that need a certain type of draining to be done properly to preserve them," he said.

Clr Mafume added, "So we are trying to coordinate a process that will expedite removal of the water without damaging the documentation that might be of the historical importance of the genesis of the city to historians and National Archives.

"This is a historical building and anything we do on it, we have to consult the National Archives and institutions which deal with it," he said.

Harare Residents Trust director Mr Precious Shumba slammed the council for incompetence.

"Despite being endowed with highly experienced engineers and administrators, and a very vocal mayor, they are ignoring this danger as if it will sort itself out.

"For a long time now, there has been water logging the underground of the Town House, the headquarters of the capital City of Zimbabwe without any solution in sight," he said.

Mr Shumba said council workers sometimes take turns to scoop the water out of the underground space but the recent heavy rains left them hopeless.

"A solution is urgently needed. Will anyone act or they are all hoping that this problem will evaporate and life goes on at Town House?" he asked.

Harare Town House, which was built around 1933, faces Julius Nyerere Way, which was constructed after a stream that ran to Mukuvisi River was drained to make way for roads and buildings around the time colonialists settled in 1890.

Source - The Herald