Gweru ordered to stop water cuts

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THE High Court has ordered Gweru City Council to stop disconnecting water supplies to residents over unpaid bills.

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

The court order followed an urgent application by Gweru resident Lizzie Zvenyika and 24 others who through their lawyer, Reginald Chidawanyika, argued that disconnection of water supplies was unconstitutional.

Chidawanyika in papers filed before High Court judge Justice Martin Makonese in case HC1434/15 argued that Gweru City Council was legally bound in terms of section 44 of the Constitution to provide water to all city residents.

“The respondent (Gweru City) is constitutionally bound as a State institution or a local authority to respect fundamental human rights enshrined in section 44 of the Constitution,” reads part of the application.

Chidawanyika said the disconnections were being carried out without a court order.

“The respondent cannot resort to self-help even assuming that indeed the applicants are owing her.

“The disconnection of water, a constitutionally guaranteed right, is an act of self-help,” reads part of the appeal.

Justice Makonese ordered Gweru to restore water supplies to all applicants within 24 hours and also ordered the local authority not to tamper with their water meters until the matter is finalised.

“That respondent and all its employees or agents be and are hereby interdicted from interfering whatsoever with, disrupting or terminating applicants‘ water supplies without the authority of a court order issued by a court of competent jurisdiction,” reads part of the judgment.

2 COMMENTS

  1. This is ridiculous, so why should anyone ever bother paying their bills if water is free. No wonder Gweru council is bankrupt

  2. The Highfield district municipality in Harare has embarked on water disconnections and meter tampering.Most of defaulting ratepayers had their water disconnected and meter removed from their premises.This move had infringed the human rights and its unconstitutional to deprive people off water .The government must come to the rescue of these residents and act against this unconstitutional behaviour of Harare City council.No amount of anger or frustration for their non payment of salaries can expressed on ratepayers ,the economy is difficult for everybody.

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