Sunday, August 23, 2015

Massive Water Cuts Hit Zimbabwe Cities, Towns
Sunday Mail Reporter
Sunday, Aug 23, 2015

Local authorities have intensified water disconnections despite a court order prohibiting councils from disconnecting water supplies to households without court permission.

The massive water disconnections were launched in Harare last week and have since spread to other cities and towns.

City fathers from various municipalities told The Sunday Mail that they had intensified water disconnections to force consumers to settle their bills.

Most local authorities claim that consumers have not been paying their bills though their previous balances were scrapped in 2013 following a Government directive.

In Harare, at least 2 000 households and commercial properties were disconnected as the local authority seeks to recover at least US$169 million.

The Harare City Council spokesperson Mr Michael Chideme confirmed the disconnections.

“The disconnection exercise has extended from high density suburbs to middle density suburbs that include Cranborne, Houghton Park, Adbernnie, Prospect, Greendale and Eastlea, Goodhope, Mabelreign and Marlborough.

“We are also serving summons and warrants of attachment (of property) in Mt Pleasant area. Next (this) week we will be in Vainona, Borrowdale and Pomona.”

The Sunday Mail has established that Bulawayo City is also disconnecting water to its defaulting consumers.

Bulawayo City Mayor, councillor Martin Moyo said the main target were consumers who have not been servicing their bills consistently.

The city is owed over US$100 million by residents and companies.

Mutare City Mayor, Tatenda Nhamarare also said water cuts in the eastern highlands were: “an ongoing exercise and we are following up on those individuals that have not been regularly paying their bills.”

However, the water disconnections are in defiance of a court order prohibiting councils from disconnecting water supplies to households without court permission.

Last year, Justice Chinembiri Bhunu issued an order against disconnecting water supplies to defaulting customers, arguing that the action was a breach of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

The reference to the supreme law was made in a case in which a lawyer, Farai Mushoriwa took Harare City Council to court after being disconnected of water over a $1 600 debt.

The lawyer argued that provision of uninterrupted water supply was a right enshrined in the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

Councils, however, appealed against the order and judiciary is yet to make a ruling.

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