THE cash-strapped Gwanda Town Council has resolved to sell a commercial stand to Transport and Infrastructure Development minister Obert Mpofu to settle its $5 million debt to the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa).
The local authority, which is currently facing a deepening water crisis following the debt made the resolution on Monday.
The resolution came at a special full council meeting called to tackle the town’s water problems that have seen some residents going without running water for 10 consecutive days.
The closed-door meeting lasted the whole day, but sources told our Bulawayo Bureau that council had decided to sell a commercial stand worth
$90 000 to Mpofu in a desperate bid to raise the $46 000 that Zinwa was demanding before it could restore normal water supplies.
The commercial stand had initially been reserved for Nyaradzo Funeral Services, but council resolved to sell it to Mpofu to raise money as a matter of urgency.
The special meeting was also attended by Zinwa Mzingwane Catchment area manager Tony Rosen.
Gwanda council housing committee chairperson Thulani Moyo reportedly told the meeting that Mpofu had indicated to him that he was looking for a commercial stand in the town and was ready to pay cash for it.
“The council is now banking on Mpofu to make the cash payment which will in turn be forwarded to Zinwa because right now the council is broke,” said the source who attended the meeting.
The Zanu PF-led council also resolved to remit 70% of revenue collected from water bills to Zinwa to reduce its debt.
Mpofu has of late shown interest in Gwanda town after buying two buildings in the last year.
He recently hiked rentals by 100% at a building he bought from Forbes and Thompson in the town centre resulting in some tenants vacating the premises.
The water crisis has reached unprecedented levels which have crippled operations at Gwanda Hospital raising concerns of an outbreak of disease at the institution as well as in the town’s schools.
Zinwa says council has only paid $2 000 in the last five months towards servicing its debt.
Zinwa says it needs the money to purchase water purification chemicals and to pay outstanding salaries of some of its employees who have gone for months without pay.