MPs to lobby govt on Byo water crisis

Member of Parliament for Pumula, Sichelesile Mahlangu, says she will mobilise other legislators to lobby the government to declare the water crisis in Bulawayo as a national disaster because the situation now needs urgent attention.

Pumula South, which is a high lying suburb, is one of the hardest hit areas where residents have gone for longer periods without water, outside the 120-hour water shedding schedule effected by the city council.

Some residents have resorted to fetching sewage water to flush their toilets while others spend long hours in a queue waiting for water bowsers which service water stressed areas.

In an interview with CITE, Mahlangu lamented how residents were distressed by lack of water.

“I am aware of the water crisis, as much is everyone. People are now fetching water from sewerage holes, where they do their laundry and drew water for their toilets. Even where I stay at Pumula East, at a place called Maraturn, we face the same challenge of water as those residents from Pumula South. I think both suburbs are connected to the same water system,” she said.

The legislator said the situation had to be prioritised and urged the government to assist Bulawayo come up with immediate solutions to the crisis

“Yes definitely, we have to lobby government to declare Bulawayo a state of disaster, looking at how the water situation is worsening in the city. We must prioritise water going forward, worse now with the 120 hours of water shedding. Those hours are nearly five days and if you stay five days without water, honestly that’s already a disaster,” Mahlangu noted.

“We have children who need attention, and in some houses you find only the elderly who are not in a position to draw water on their own from boreholes or even bowsers. If this continues unabated we may lose more lives due to water borne diseases.”

She noted that the water crisis had worsened at a time when the world is grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic that requires citizens to carry out more hygienic measures such as constant washing of hands.

Mahlangu recalled that at one time, she wanted to buy a water pipes using the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) but council indicated it would work on the challenge.

“As an MP, I thought it was ideal to buy a pipe using CDF funds because council officials had told me a pipe had to be installed underground. Together with residents of Ward 19, we agreed to use the CDF funds for that purpose so that the pipe can used to connect both Pumula East and Pumula South.

“We then waited for an engineer to give us a feedback up to today the report didn’t come but we have since heard that council is working on it,” she said.

Last week, Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution for Bulawayo said boreholes has been sighted for drilling in Lobengula Extension, Old Magwegwe, Magwegwe West, Pelandaba, Pumula South and Nkulumane.

The Pumula legislator said this was good but noted more boreholes had to be drilled.

“I am happy though to hear that boreholes are to going be drilled but my request is one must be also sunk at Pelandaba West because those residents have the same challenge as those from Pumula South. The borehole will also be advantageous to residents of Pumula East, where the household line facing water problems can go fetch water there as they can’t go to Pumula South,” she said.

Meanwhile, residents from other suburbs such as Emganwini and Queens Park complained that the local authority was not sticking to its advertised water-shedding programme.

“We have been counting the days and the water has not come, these are issues that must be explained to us. We know there is no water, which is why the scheduling is important to us. It now seems water has gone for more than the 120 hours because we lose track,” said one resident.

Source: Centre for Innovation and Technology (CITE)

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