CHRA Statement On The Shutdown Of Water Treatment Plant By The City Of Harare

The Combined Harare Residents Association bemoans the closure of Morton Jaffray Water Treatment plant by the City of Harare leaving the whole City without water due to failure by (ZimPhos) Chemplex chemicals to supply adequate water treatment chemicals.

The company needed assistance of ZWL 2.583 000 required for Value added Tax to import 1000 tonnes of bauxite, the primary raw material for manufacturing aluminium sulphate.

CHRA is aware that in September 2019 at a tour at Morton Jaffrey Treatment Plant, the Local Government Minister, Honorable July Moyo gave a directive that the ‘incapacitated’ Chemplex chemicals be the sole supplier of water treatment chemicals to all local authorities. In the last 24 hours Chemplex has managed to supply one load of water treatment chemicals, which have run out leading to the shutting down again of the water treatment plant.

In a letter to the Mayor of Harare dated 21 January 2020, Minister July Moyo declined request by City Officials to purchase water treatment chemicals from other suppliers besides Chemplex Corporation. The failure by Chemplex Corporation to supply adequate water treatment chemicals has seriously impacted on the residents of Harare in particular women who are enduring long queues at the few water points dotted around the city.

We warn the government of Zimbabwe that the current status of water supply in the city is a minefield for a serious health crisis as it contributes to the spread of COVID 19 and other waterborne diseases especially this hot season.

Water is life and any actions that stand in the way to supply water is an attempt to take away lives .The right to water is inseparably connected to the right to life in the Constitution of Zimbabwe. We call upon the Minister to be accountable on his detrimental order that has created a monopoly for Chemplex to be the sole supplier of water treatment chemicals in Zimbabwe. We expect the Minister to take decisive action on this matter. The move to monopolize supply of water treatment chemicals for local authorities raises more questions than answers and calls on for a serious interrogation on the owners of Chemplex Corporation.

We are concerned that the directives by the Minister in the City of Harare have seen the prominence of central government in our local authority which is against the spirit of devolution enshrined in Section 264 of the Constitution on devolution. These directives have seriously impacted on service provision and this Chemplex issue is a clear example.

The Combined Harare Residents Association is contemplating legal action to challenge the   Chemplex monopoly that has seen massive violation of the right to water for Hararians.

We therefore recommend the following:

·       Urgent removal of the Chemplex monopoly over supply of water treatment chemicals to the City to allow the City of Harare to broaden its suppliers base for water treatment chemicals

·       Speedy implementation of devolution in the latter and spirit of Chapter 14 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe and the Minister must cease issuing directives to local authorities

·       The City of Harare must come up with a comprehensive contingency plan in particular storage of water treatment chemicals

·       The City of Harare must increase its water tariffs for industry and commercial water consumers

·       The Environmental Management Agency and the City of Harare must work hand in  glove in the protection of wetlands in order to reduce the City  water treatment costs

·       Removal of duty on suppliers of water treatment chemicals as they are key in water provisioning which has been a major challenge for most local authorities

Source: Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)