THE Harare Residents Trust (HRT) has raised alarm of a looming health disaster following unconfirmed reports that the city council had run out of water treatment chemicals and had now resorted to pumping untreated water to residential areas.
Report by Moses Matenga
In a statement yesterday, the trust claimed this happened after a company contracted to supply the water treatment chemicals to Harare demanded cash upfront.
“The HRT is alarmed at the latest information emerging from City of Harare employees on water. Emergency report is that Harare water is pumping untreated water after the running-out of water treatment chemicals, resulting in residents receiving tap water with greenish substances, sadza and vegetable particles,” the trust said.
“According to reliable sources, the water treatment chemicals ran out around Christmas, and they no longer get chemicals from Mashwede. The new chemical suppliers have demanded cash upfront from the City of Harare, forcing the local authority to take the unprecedented risk of pumping untreated or partially treated water.”
But council spokesperson Leslie Gwindi yesterday rubbished the claims, saying they were baseless.
“Not that I know of. They have always alleged that, but they don’t bring out the facts. They are singing for their supper and want to please their donors by making such claims,” Gwindi said.
Residents interviewed by NewsDay seemed to confirm that either they had not had water for days or the water was soiled.
“HRT urges government to intervene, investigate and find an immediate solution, roping in humanitarian agencies like Unicef to avert a health crisis of unimagined proportions. We denounce city employees and councillors for covering up this situation, endangering the lives of citizens. We advise residents not to consume the city’s tap water until the situation has been sorted out. The HRT continues its investigations into this matter,” the trust said.
In his end-of-year message last December, Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn leader Simba Makoni accused local authorities of failing to address the perennial water problems.
“Local authorities are failing to provide potable water. In many localities, people are using water contaminated with sewage effluent, exposing them to diseases which had long been eradicated from this country,” Makoni said.
The HRT added that employees from Harare Water had been grounded as they did not have diesel to carry out their work.