THE Zanu PF-dominated parliamentary portfolio committee on Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development still maintains that the takeover of wat
er and sewer reticulation services in urban centres by the Zimbabwe National Water Authority was not in the best interests of residents as the purported consultation was confined to government circles.
Committee chairperson Margaret Zinyemba (Zanu PF) told parliament on Wednesday that although her committee had given in to the cabinet directive, the committee still stood by its ealier position that the takeover was ill-timed and was not reflective of the view of the majority of the people and other stakeholders in urban centres.
She was moving a motion to withdraw the debate on the Zinwa takeover from the order paper following a response to the committee’s second report by Water Resources and Infrastructural Development minister Munacho Muteza last week.
“Following minister Mutezo’s response to my committee’s second report last week, it appears there is no going back on the takeover of water and sewerage reticulation services in cities and towns by Zinwa.
“However, I would like to point out that the decision is not in the best interests of the public as water shortages and sewer bursts have become the norm in residential suburbs. The situation is critical and it’s posing a danger to our lives. There is an urgent need for Zinwa to correct the situation,” she said.
Zinyemba, whose address was interrupted by loud applause from members from either side of the House, said her committee had established that consultations on the takeover were limited to government officials only.
She said it was the committee’s view that the earlier decision to decentralise the services to local authorities was the best and should have been upheld.
Zinyemba challenged the responsible ministry and Zinwa to deliver the expected quality service to residents as a matter of urgency as the situation was worsening by the day.
“The minister indicated in his response that the process of rehabilitating infrastructure in all towns and cities would take long and that Zinwa needed huge financial backing from government.
“We urge government to urgently provide the necessary funds so that the problem of sewer bursts and water supplies are addressed as a matter of urgency,” said Zinyemba.
Earlier Bulawayo South legislator David Coltart had urged the House to lobby the government to treat the Bulawayo water crisis with urgency as the city was facing a disaster.
He said the proposed Mtshabezi-Umzingwane pipeline link, considered the mid-term solution to the city’s water crisis, was taking too long to be implemented.
Coltart told the House that he had learnt from stakeholders in the city that a local company contacted to manufacture the required pipes would accomplish the task in two years while a huge amount of foreign currency was required to import critical components.