HomeNewsZinwa takes council to court over debt

Zinwa takes council to court over debt

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THE cash-strapped Beitbridge Municipality has been taken to court by the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) over a $32 million debt accrued since 2011.

BY REX MPHISA

The local authority is contemplating taking legal action against residents who owe a whopping $46 million in unpaid rates.

Beitbridge town clerk Loud Ramakgapola yesterday confirmed that the municipality had received summons from Zinwa.

“These are summons where Zinwa wants us to pay $32 million. The summons were filed on October 8 and we received them on the 23rd,” he said.

“The bill is from 2011. Ratepayers are not paying. They owe us $46 million. If they pay, we should be good to deal with the debt.”

Zinwa sells bulk water to the local authority, which in turn dispenses it to about 40 000 of the bustling town’s 70 000
residents.

The municipality has not been able to connect all residents to the water system and is currently struggling to meet demand, resulting in some residents relying on borehole water, or water sold by mobile vendors.

Ramakgapola said the border town faced challenges that included aging water pipes.

The World Bank (WB) is helping in upgrading the archaic water system.

After the 1988/9 cholera outbreak which started in Beitbridge and spread to other districts, killing 5 000 people countrywide, the WB released $2 million and a vehicle to the local authority.

However, it was taken over by Zinwa under unclear circumstances.

Beitbridge residents are fighting alongside their municipality so that they have control of their water like many other local authorities.

But they face resistance from Zinwa.

Yesterday, residents met the local authority and decided to petition President Emmerson Mnangagwa to order Zinwa to set Beitbridge free so that it manages its water.
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