HARARE City Council is failing to provide clean water and other services to residents because the government has not been paying the money it owes the struggling local authority.
REPORT BY JENNIFER DUBE
City mayor Muchadeyi Masunda said they would have been able to improve service delivery, including clean water provision, had government departments paid part of the US$130 million it owes the local authority.
Businesses and residents also owe the city several millions of dollars in unpaid rates and service charges.
The city requires US$2 million for the procurement and installation of 47 pressure reducing valves, a project that could reduce burst pipes by over 50%.
It also needs US$14 million for the replacement of key sections of the distribution network consisting of about 150km of piping in a move hoped to avail water to over 60 000 households in Greater Harare.
“We had hoped they [government] would prioritise these projects and pay us from the US$130 million we are owed by various government departments,” Masunda said last week. “We also need money to pay our suppliers like Zimphos and the engineers who are fixing our pumps.
“We also need to pay for the servicing of our pumps and as you know, people nowadays want payment upfront.”
In an interview with The Standard in February, Masunda said the city’s water situation was set to improve next month if Harare managed to raise US$16 million to install the PRVs and replace 150km piping with technical support from South Africa’s Ethekwini Municipality.
Masunda last week said the Harare water situation had improved, although not to a level the council had wanted.
It is understood that Local Government, Urban and Rural Development minister, Ignatius Chombo last week wrote to cabinet pressing upon the need for the city’s debtors to pay up to facilitate more improvements on the water network.
Efforts to get a comment from Chombo were fruitless last week.