GWERU residents have petitioned Parliament to stop their local authority from installing prepaid water meters in the city.
The petition, handed over by Gweru Residents’ Forum director Charles Mazorodze to the Local Government Parliamentary Portfolio Committee yesterday, said the prepaid water meters, if installed, would exclude many from accessing potable water, which, in turn, would expose them to waterborne diseases such as cholera and typhoid.
BY GARIKAI TUNHIRA
“Gweru Residents’ Forum, representing Gweru Urban Residents, have conducted citywide consultations in light of the recent development that Gweru City Council intends to procure 15 000 prepaid water meters at a cost of $6 million,” the residents said.
“The initiative is a direct contradiction of the Zimbabwe Constitution Amendment Number 20 of 2017 as well as breach of the post-2015 eight millennium development goals and the newly-adopted 17 sustainable development goals aiming at integrating social inclusion, economic development and environmental sustainability.
“Water is a human right as enshrined in the Constitution Amendment Number 20 of 2013, which must be observed at all times, in terms of chapter 4 section 77, while the prepaid water system does not have any preventive measure that those who cannot afford water are not denied access to safe and potable water.”
They added: “In Gweru, the majority if people are unemployed and, hence, cannot afford prepayment of the precious commodity at all times. The prepayment system does not work in an ailing economy like Zimbabwe.”
Gweru residents have been fighting the city fathers since early last year when the issue of prepaid water meters was first introduced.
When the move was introduced, Mazorodze said it was “saddening . . . that the people whom we elected to represent our interests as Gweru residents are at the forefront of ensuring exclusion of the poor, unemployed and the senior citizens from consuming water”.