Gweru residents have vowed to resist their council’s plans to introduce prepaid water meters, arguing that the city fathers were failing to consult ratepayers over the programme.
By Stephen Chadenga
The residents’ position is in contradiction with what the majority of councillors recently said at a full council meeting that most residents had welcomed plans to install prepaid water meters.
Most councillors from both the MDC-T and Zanu PF last month said they had consulted with residents in their wards and that they had warmed up to the idea of prepaid water meters.
“We as Gweru United Progressive Residents and Ratepayers’ Development Association Trust (GUPRARDA) are concerned by the local authority’s total disregard for key stakeholders’ input,” GUPRARDA executive director, David Chikore said yesterday.
“Claims that they consulted with residents are irrelevant in such a key policy shift because this is an issue which requires concerted, objective and thorough interrogation of facts before implementation.”
Chikore said council should first address the issue of the “shambolic billing system” before making plans for prepaid water meters.
He said before council officials embarked on proposed tour of cities that had already installed water meters, there was need for a buy-in of the project from local stakeholders.
Gweru mayor, Charles Chikozho, however, maintained that residents had reportedly welcomed plans by council to introduce prepaid water meters.
Chikozho said the installation was not going to be done overnight, but that it was an ongoing consultation process.