SECURITY guards in Harare’s Avenues area over the weekend cashed in on the water crisis in the city charging at least $2 for desperate residents to harvest the precious liquid from boreholes at the offices they were guarding.
NewsDay witnessed hundreds of people thronging various offices including bars that have boreholes in search of water while crafty security guards saw an opportunity to make money.
A security guard along Herbert Chitepo (name of company withheld) could not hide his intention to hordes of people who stood by the gate at his work station saying he wanted something in return for accessing water.
“You can get water here, but as you know, I am risking my job in trying to help you. You can as well assist me by doing something so that we all benefit,” said the guard.
It did not take long before one woman opened the floodgates by giving the guard $2 and the others followed suit with different amounts of money for the guard.
A drive around several offices showed that several people were queuing outside offices to buy water.
Residents thanked the guards for enabling them to access water and blasted Harare city council for its failure to provide adequate water supplies in the city posing a health risk particularly for those staying in flats.
In Belvedere, dozens of people also had the benevolence of some residents in that suburb for allowing them to harvest water from their outside taps for no fee.
“Imagine two days without water in a flat. What will we do for the children, for us and what about the laundry? He (the security guard) is a life saver,” said Emilia Mupandawana who stays in the central business district.
Harare taps were dry over the weekend with council attributing the development to burst pipes.
Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch will be launching its new report on Zimbabwe’s Water and Sanitation Crisis today.
The report Troubled Water: Burst Pipes, Contaminated Wells, and Open Defecation in Zimbabwe’s Capital, documents the government’s failure to deal with the very same conditions which, between 2008 and 2009, led to the worst cholera epidemic in Africa in the last 50 years.