BY VENERANDA LANGA
GWANGA residents told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Local Government that they had now resorted to use of the bush system and plastic bags to relieve themselves due to lack of water in the town.
This was revealed in the Local Government Committee report presented in Parliament on Tuesday by committee chair, Miriam Chikukwa. The committee said oral evidence it gathered from the petitioners revealed that the Gwanda local authority allocated stands which were not serviced, but still gave residents the go ahead to build houses on them.
“Nice houses were built and people occupied their homes, but for more than 10 years, they have lived without water and sewer services,” read the report.
“The committee was disturbed to learn that residents had resorted to using the bush and plastic bags to relieve themselves, and this situation is not ideal for human habitation and the committee opined that the Gwanda Municipality had neglected its responsibility and core business of providing basic service delivery.”
The Gwanda town clerk told the committee that delays in providing water and sewer systems were caused by lack of funding.
“It was pointed out that the construction of the reservoir, started in 2011, had taken time to complete due to lack of funding by central government. The town clerk, however, undertook to complete the reservoir within three months once resources were made available by the central government. An additional US$346 000 was needed to complete the construction of the water and sewer systems, roads and offsite infrastructure,” the committee report read.
The Gwanda Municipality reportedly told the committee that more than 50% of the stands at Spitzkop were built on high ground of approximately 73 metres above sea level, resulting in water supply challenges to the residential area.
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“Faced with that challenge, Gwanda Municipality, through the government, received public sector investment project (PSIP) funding amounting to $2 434 571, 89 to build a 12 megalitre reservoir. Their reservoir project was at 98% completion at the time of the committee’s visit to Gwanda Municipality. An amount of US$100 000 is needed for testing of the reservoir, fencing and construction of a road leading to the reservoir. The project is expected to be completed by the end of June 2019 and will supply water to residents of Spitzkop and other areas in Gwanda,” the committee said.
MPs recommended that Gwanda Municipality should come up with a lasting solution to lack of social amenities to residents in ward 5 by December 31 this year.