COWDRAY Park Ward 28 residents boycotted a meeting that was called by Bulawayo Progressive Residents’ Association (Bupra) on Sunday at Mahlathini Primary School on prepaid water meters amid revelations that the residents believe they were being misled.
Ward 28 councillor Collet Ndlovu said Bupra had made a mistake by misinforming people on prepaid water meters.
“There is nothing that one can tell the people if he or she doesn’t work in the city council,” he said.
“Bpra is telling people lies that people should purchase water first for consumption.
“As a council we have free water that we first give residents.
“In prepaid water meters five kilolitres of water will be programmed for free and that is equivalent to 25 drums of water and if a resident is conserving, the free allocation can last him or her a month.”
Ndlovu said residents should understand that the prepaid water meters have advantages rather than what they were told by Bupra.
“The person reading a fixed meter can make a mistake and as for prepaid water meter one can see the right consumption.” he said.
“In the evening if one can run out of water the prepaid meter has a button that one can press and be able to purchase water the following morning.”
Ndlovu said the issue of prepaid water meters also will help the council increase revenue collection.
“If there are no prepaid water meters some people will be reluctant to pay to the local authority thinking that the government will again write off their debits like it has done before and we cannot let the council collapse,” he said.
Ndlovu said people had been reckless on consumption of water, particularly for construction purposes, at the expense of the council.
“There has been also a problem that water taps have been viewed as public taps and now people would have to privatise their taps,” he said.
Ndlovu denied claims that the local authority would no longer allow residents to construct or extend their houses if they did not have prepaid meters.
“The argument is that people at Hlalani Kuhle are busy extending their houses while they are not paying for services,” he said.
“We have asked the people to pay for services before they make extension to their houses.”
“We are actually putting the prepaid water meters for free.”
However, Bupra official, Anglistone Sibanda said the meeting had not been boycotted but rather it had not been organised properly.
“The programme was a flop because many residents have travelled to rural areas as we all know that it is a holiday,” he said.
“We had not actually considered that. We wanted to conscientise residents that it was their right to have water rather than the issue of purchasing water for consumption.”
Sibanda said although Ndlovu was saying that prepaid water meters would be installed for free the local authority would deduct the cost of the prepaid water meters from their accounts.
“If the prepaid water meters were rejected by people in England, in developed countries, what about our country which is still developing?
“What guarantee do we have that they will give a good service delivery knowing that our service deliver is actually poor?” he said.
The Environment, Water and Climate ministry reportedly instructed local authorities to introduce prepaid water meters in their respective cities and towns to increase revenue collection despite objections from residents.