KWEKWE – The Redcliff municipality has gone for more than a week without water, leaving thousands of residents in the dormitory town sitting on a health time bomb.
This follows failure by the Kwekwe City Council to supply Redcliff authorities with the basic resource, citing obsolete equipment.
Kwekwe mayor Angeline Kasipo said that the inconsistent supply was caused by unreliable water pumps at the water treatment plant. Redcliff is not a water authority and has to rely on Kwekwe for supplies. Redcliff owes Kwekwe $3 million in debts, but Kasipo said that was not the reason for the dry run.
“We did not cut supplies to Redcliff,” said Kasipo. “The reason we have not been supplying Redcliff with water is because we are having challenges with our water pumps. Whenever we experience challenges, Redcliff and some high-lying places in Kwekwe are casualties as water will be supplied at a very low pressure. We are trying all we can to supply Redcliff with water despite the fact that they owe us.”
Government directed Kwekwe not to cut Redcliff.
“We were given directives not to shut down Redcliff although they are having challenges paying,” Works Director John Mhike told councillors in a recent full council meeting.
Mhike however, told councilors that whenever they experienced challenges with the pumps, Redcliff was a casualty as it would have its supplies cut.
Redcliff has been failing to honour financial payment plans, something that has since divided Kwekwe councilors.
Councilor Melody Chingarande recently told fellow councillors in a recent full council meeting that Redcliff had misplaced its priorities.
“Why is Redcliff prioritizing other developments and not paying for their water. We cannot continue suffering they must pay. If they fail to pay then they must not get water,” Chingarande said.
Kwekwe Deputy Mayor Shadreck Tobaiwa however, indicated that despite challenges Kwekwe must be moved by the spirit of ubuntu and continue supplying Redcliff.
“According to ubuntu water is life. We have to give them (Redcliff) here and there. There is an agreement of what must be paid,” he said.
Meanwhile, Redcliff Mayor Clayton Masiyatsva said Kwekwe was demanding payment for water supplies.
“We don’t have water here because our supplier is demanding payment. They want us to come up with a payment plan,” Masiyatsva said.
Authorities at Redcliff have maintained that the local authority will only be able to fully operate if they are settled their $17 million debt by former integrated steel works Ziscosteel.
Revenue at Redcliff had been boosted following the settling of salary arrears of the ex-Ziscosteel employees by government.
In recent weeks revenue has plummeted following the garnishing of Ziscosteel accounts by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) as the ex-workers are yet to receive their settlements.