The Parliament of Zimbabwe is seeking an urgent solution to the disconnection of water supplies in Gwanda and Beitbridge by the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) over non-payment of bills.
ZINWA last week cut water supplies to the two main municipalities in Matabeleland South, crippling operations at public institutions such as hospitals where water is key.
“There is a looming disaster in Matabeleland South,” decried the province’s proportional representation legislator, Sipho Mokone, in Parliament yesterday. “ZINWA has cut off its water supply from two major towns in the province, that is Beitbridge and Gwanda towns. ZINWA has attributed this move to non-payment of dues by the two aforementioned towns. Today we are on day eight, without any drop of water in Gwanda town.”
She further said: “I find this uncalled for, especially since we are faced with this Covid-19 scourge where running water is very important in preventing the spread of the disease. It is also a violation of human rights as water is one of the rights that is enshrined in the Zimbabwean constitution.”
Mokone said the situation was dire at hospitals. “Hospitals have suspended theatre services because there is no single drop of water running from their tap,” she lamented.
“This House can imagine the risk in such a situation. The two major towns in Matabeleland South have gone back to the Stone Age period. I therefore urge or rather, request the responsible Ministry to look into this with urgency or better still come to this august House and explain why the two major cities in Matabeleland South are still being supplied ZINWA water, yet the municipality got the directive to get water plants from ZINWA.”
In his response, National Assembly Speaker, Jacob Mudenda said the matter was very important and of national importance, further describing it as “very concerning,”
“I am not sure whether we can get a statement by tomorrow (today); the Minister of Water is in Cabinet today (yesterday). May I request the Clerk of Parliament to go to his office now and phone the Permanent Secretary to prepare that statement, in liaison with the Deputy Minister so that when the Minister comes out of Cabinet, he can approve that statement for delivery tomorrow (today). Clerk of Parliament, please proceed accordingly.”
Source: Centre for Innovation and Technology