A MEETING between the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) and the Beitbridge Municipality-called by the former to hand over water supplies ended in a deadlock last week, Southern Eye has heard.
BY REX MPHISA
Beitbridge town clerk Loud Ramakgapola, who co-chaired the meeting, refused to disclose details of the deliberations which spilled into the night last Thursday.
Similarly, Beitbridge mayor Morgan Ncube said it was too early to discuss the finer details.
“We might be taking the issue to another level, but all I can tell you for now is we were also excused from the meeting, where parties did not come to a consensus. We could seek the audience of higher authorities, including our [Local Government] minister, July Moyo,” Ncube said.
Beitbridge, with a population of almost 60 000, wants Zinwa to hand over water supplies to the municipality which, together with Gwanda, are the only towns still being supplied by Zinwa.
The border town is supplied from Zhovhe Dam.
According to a source who attended the meeting, Zinwa wanted to hand over the reticulation of water to council, yet hold on to treatment and bulk billing, something which council resisted.
“The council wants the entire plant: to treat and reticulate, it wants to buy raw water from Zinwa,” the source said.
“The new proposal by Zinwa increased burden on the local authority, which would inherit ageing pipes from the plant to the distribution reservoirs. The local authority is only ready to take over if it is taking over the whole treatment plant.”
A councillor, speaking on condition of anonymity, accused Zinwa officials of wasting government resources by travelling to Beitbridge to sell an old and almost derelict plant.
“They had no new proposal. We want the plant and they came, almost 15 of them, claiming allowances, to sell something we have long refused, which is a waste of resources,” the councillor said.
Zinwa is currently struggling to buy water treatment chemicals, which has affected the supply of water in Beitbridge.
Zinwa officials refused to comment.
“It is not professional to have people learning of this from the Press. We are just here to lay the groundwork and an official comment will be made by our minister once all modalities are in place and an official handover date is agreed on,” a Zinwa official said.
The water management body is owed in excess of $15 million by the Beitbridge Municipality, who argue that Zinwa’s tariffs are the most expensive in the country.