BULAWAYO City Council (BCC) has increased its surveillance to safeguard against a possible outbreak of waterborne diseases due to the deepening water crisis in the country’s second capital.
REPORT BY FORTUNE MOYO STAFF REPORTER
According to the latest council minutes, the disease surveillance unit under the council’s health department has been on high alert following two reports of typhoid cases recorded in the city last month.
“Two cases of typhoid were investigated last month and both cases were imported from Gweru,” BCC said.
“Stool specimen taken on the contacts was negative. The Health Service Department is on high alert for waterborne disease outbreaks.”
Bulawayo residents have been receiving inadequate water since the introduction of the water-shedding regime in July which has since been scaled up to 96 hours per week.
Some suburbs have reportedly gone for longer hours without water, compromising sanitation in the city.
Suburbs such as Mabutweni and some sections of Magwegwe have gone for weeks without running water.
At the end of August, the local authority escalated water-shedding to 72 hours per week as water levels continued to deteriorate at the city’s supply dams.
As if that was not enough, the local authority last week extended water-shedding to 96 hours per week.
Water shortages, intermittent supply and sewage issues, have steadily worsened across the country, particularly in high-density suburbs.
Residents’ associations in Harare and Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s two major cities, have urged immediate action from both local and national government to urgently address the water crisis.
Meanwhile, BCC is planning to beef up its security department to clamp down on illegal vending, especially along pavements.
Council director of engineering services Simela Dube said: “The city has recently experienced an upsurge of illegal use of pavements by vendors selling fruits and vegetables, sweets, cellphone accessories, books and second-hand clothing. Some shop owners were displaying their goods and also put advertisement signs on the pavements, further blocking the free movement of the public.
“Those operating without council permission should be fined in terms of the by-laws and anyone holding a function that results in the blocking of pavements, should furthermore pay the normal town planning fee of $200 doubled.”
Councillors recently raised concern over the issue, saying illegal vending was affecting formal businesses.
“Vending has destroyed most businesses. In other local authorities, vending is not permitted in the CBD (central business district),” Councillor Israel Mabaleka said.
Another councillor, Ephraim Ncube, said: “Many people are now operating within the CBD and there is need for council to increase security manpower in order to curb such illegal vending.”