Harare – The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe has called the government to declare the lack of water a national disaster as a water summit is underway at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) in Bulawayo.
Since December 2012, parts of the Greendale and Mandara areas in Harare have not had water while Matabeleland suffers perennial water shortages.
“…there are many other pockets of Harare which have gone without water for an eternity. Not having water has become a norm rather than an exception which consumers have meekly submitted to and accustomed themselves to, said the consumer watchdog in a statement.
“Repeated alerts to the City authorities to remedy the water crises in affected areas, has not merited any reaction. Not even a notice or an apology.
“It appears the City authorities have abandoned their duty to supply water to consumers and have left it to water merchants, who are peddling the precious commodity at obnoxious prices.
“Consumers have to live with paying twice for water services – buying water services from independent water suppliers, in addition to paying the city, for water which they are not getting and if they do not, they risk losing their property to the City.
“In the interests of justice, the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe thinks it is about time that consumers united their voice in solidarity with each other and demand justice from the City authorities because consumers cannot continue to prop up the City when it is failing to supply basic amenities.
“If the City is failing to water provide as it has done for many years now, it must admit so.
“Despite being a consumer facing organisation, the City does not want to engage, and because of that, consumers are never fully apprised of why there is no water.
Engagement is very important when dealing with consumers. The CCZ is not so sure when was the last time the City held a public hearing to tap consumer views on a plethora of issues confronting them. Supposing they did, how much of what consumers have said has been implemented?”
“Instead arrogance and ignoring consumer complaints have become the trademarks of utility service providers.It is not the first time that CCZ has raised the issue of water and it seems that we are not being heard.
“The City authorities owe consumers an explanation as to why there is no water in their homes even during the rainy season. And let us not hear about Kunzvi Dam because that is a master and long term solution to the water crises, which is not going anywhere.
“Meanwhile, as a nation, are we going to watch our people die because they have no water while we wait for Kunzvi Dam to come on stream in 2025?”
Meanwhile government and water experts have been meeting at the ZITF to seek solutions to the country’s worsening water woes.
Water resources development minister Sipepa Nkomo said he was looking forward to more investors to water resources development and management after the summit.
Meanwhile the Bulawayo city council said it had suspended water cuts in the city, which is bustling with people from all walks of life, who are attending the ZITF. This was to minimise the risks of disease outbreaks.