THE Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (Zimcodd) has stepped up its campaign against local authorities’ plans to privatise water and install prepaid meters at residential properties arguing that the move was anti-human.
Zimcodd, a local non-governmental organisation, was lobbying consumers to protest against installation of prepaid water meters at their properties.
The campaign came at a time when Zimbabwe’s major cities, Harare and Bulawayo, were on the verge of engaging private partners to help install prepaid meters at residential properties as part of efforts to improve revenue inflows.
“Through its residents’ cluster, Zimcodd will continue to lobby residents to resist prepaid meters as it is a violation of their constitutional right to water,” Zimcodd said. The organisation took a swipe at profit-seeking companies that wanted to implement the water smart meters’ project.
“They are anti-people, anti-poor and are being driven by maximising profits from the already overtaxed poor residents,” Zimcodd said.
Zimcodd launched the Access to Water programme last year when it started to meet residents from Mabvuku, Mufakose, Epworth and Chitungwiza who have been the worst affected by the erratic water supplies from their local authorities.
The residents continued to receive monthly bills with fixed water charges despite the erratic supplies.
“We will continue to facilitate dialogue between residents and the local authorities to map ways of improving social service delivery so that citizens can enjoy their basic social and economic rights,” Zimcodd added.
Meanwhile, the organisation said it would this week hold a media sensitisation workshop on water issues where journalists would interact with water experts and leadership of various residents’ associations. The workshop, to be held in Harare, is part of the organisation’s grand plan of coming up with a universal policy document on water provision.
Most urban water consumers countrywide have had nightmarish experiences ranging from non-supply, problematic bills, aggressive debt collection methods and general lack of public consultation by local authorities on issues concerning water.