Bulawayo mayor Thaba Moyo Tuesday said Tredgold Building should not be closed as such a move would affect the welfare of citizens and not political leaders who failed to pay the water bills.
Tredgold Building, which houses the Bulawayo Magistrates’ Courts, Umguza Registrar Offices, Deeds Office and other government departments, has been without water for the past two weeks after supply was cut on January 6 for failure to pay bills.
The building is owned by the Ministry of Public Construction and National Housing which has failed to settle its water bill. Bulawayo City Council (BCC) then moved to declare the building unfit for use and was preparing to have it closed.
Speaking in an interview, Moyo said issues that affected the welfare of citizens should not be approached with stern measures like the closure of a building.
“This issue doesn’t affect political leaders but citizens. Closing the building because the ministry has not paid the bills would be extreme. I will intervene to save the situation and make sure the building is not closed,” said Moyo.
He, however, said the issue had not yet been officially brought to his attention.
“I don’t know why the welfare of citizens should be compromised when institutions are fighting. There is no point for council to get that far. If it’s us who closed the water, then there is no reason why we should close the building, because ordinary people would suffer. If BCC is contemplating doing that it’s unfortunate,” he said.
BCC said in a statement on Monday that the building was no longer fit for use following the disconnection of water supplies.
“The City of Bulawayo observes that where water is not available health and hygiene is compromised and such premises are therefore not fit for habitation.
“The Health Services Department within the City of Bulawayo usually serves notices to the occupier requiring them to ensure water supplies are reconnected within a specified period, failure which the premises should be vacated. The unavailability of water in any occupied dwelling is deemed to be a nuisance as defined in section 85 (h) of the Public Health Act Chapter 15.09,” the statement reads.
By yesterday (Tuesday), it appeared supplies to the building were being restored as water trickled from some of the taps at the building.