MASVINGO — The government has issued an order compelling local authorities to stop disconnecting water from residents who have not paid their bills, a Cabinet minister has said.
Report by Tatenda Chitagu
Speaking at a meeting with dam catchments and sub-catchments councils in Masvingo on Friday, Water Resources minister Samuel Sipepa Nkomo said he and Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo had issued an order directing all local authorities to stop the water disconnections with immediate effect.
The order came hardly a day after the cash-strapped Masvingo city council disconnected residents to recover about $15 million it is owed in unpaid bills.
“My ministry and that of Local Government have issued a directive to stop water cuts,” Nkomo said.
“Local authorities should not disconnect water. Councils should engage the people and talk to them so that they pay up.”
Nkomo said disconnecting water would pile pressure on the country’s social services when people get diseases.
“We should not disconnect water. Water is a basic right and in doing so you are denying people their fundamental right,” he said.
“People get diseases, we increase the cost to the State.”
He, however, encouraged residents to pay up their bills.
“While I also encourage residents to settle their bills, I feel disconnecting their water supply is too much,” Nkomo said.