CHITUNGWIZA Resident Trust (CHITREST) has filed an application at the High Court to compel the municipality to provide residents with clean and enough water during the 21-day COVID-19 lockdown.
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
The residents argued that police officers enforcing the lockdown were forcibly dispersing them from community boreholes, a move that could expose them to the deadly virus.
The residents said on March 30, police forcibly dispersed them from community boreholes in Zengeza 2, 4, 5 and Unit K where they were queuing to fetch water for domestic use.
In their application for a mandamus at the High Court, the residents cited Chitungwiza Municipality, Local Government minister July Moyo, Health minister Obadiah Moyo and Finance minister Mthuli Ncube as respondents.
The residents said Chitungwiza experienced erratic and at times no provision of adequate and safe water for domestic use. They said the right to water was a fundamental human right and the failure by the authority to provide running water to them was in breach of that right.
“Lack of water leads to violation of the right to life and directly or indirectly the contraction of deadly diseases that are water borne,” the residents submitted.
“This risk is further magnified by the outbreak of the COVID-19 which requires greater personal hygiene that includes washing hands with soap and water which is only possible if there is water.”
“In order for residents to comply with the spirit of the national lockdown as urged by the Health ministry through various platforms and the World Health Organisation, it is imperative that all people must exercise personal hygiene, hence measures must be put in place for them to access water in their homes.”
The residents said the municipality had neglected and failed or refused to put such measures in place to comply with their constitutional obligation.
“In declaring the national, lockdown President Mnangagwa undertook that government and local authorities will ensure the availability of water, ablution facilities for all.”
The residents demanded that Chitungwiza Municipality be ordered to ensure that there is adequate potable and uninterrupted water supply during the COVID-19 lockdown period and after.
Early this week, the High Court ordered Harare City Council to urgently address the water crisis after residents filed a similar court application.