The job action by City of Harare employees has deepened a sewer burst crisis that has a potential of causing a serious waterborne disease outbreak in Harare as residents opt to open defecation.
According to the City of Harare “the impact of the lockdown and the crippling financial impasse took their toll on the City, employees responded by withdrawing their labour over Personal Protective Equipment and allowances resulting in accumulation of unattended sewer blockages particularly within the (CBD) Central Business District and high density residential areas.”
“The Acting Director of Harare Water further reported that with regards to water distribution was limited activity due to industrial action undertaken by the workforce at Council’s various sites”, reads part of the Environmental Committee minutes.
Residents of Harare are currently grappling with unattended sewer bursts and poor water supplies, a situation that has a potential of causing a serious waterborne disease outbreak.
In New Tafara residents have made makeshift septic tanks that are filled with raw sewerage as the City has failed to respond to sewer chokes. “We have made these pits for sewer to flow in since we have had no response from the local authority” said a dejected woman from Tafara.
In areas such as Glen View, Budiriro and Highfields yards of houses have been flooded by unattended raw sewerage. In Glen View people affected by the sewer chokes are defecating in plastic bags and then throwing them in illegal dumpsites which have sprouted within the location.
The situation in most high density areas requires a serious emergency humanitarian response as it is degenerating to the total collapse of service delivery likened to the 2008 era.
Despite the fact that Council communication indicates that there has been a job action in the local authority local plumbers are citing that there is lack of rods to attend to the sewer chokes and protective clothing.
CHRA is calling for an urgent humanitarian intervention to prevent a serious health time bomb currently brewing in most high density suburbs and the City of Harare to resolve labor disputes with its employees which is another contribution to the crisis.