Council in water disconnections blitz

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BULAWAYO City Council has defied a High Court order against water cuts by embarking on a massive disconnection programme over unpaid bills.

BY NQOBANI NDLOVU

The move has set council on a collision court with residents’ associations, but mayor Martin Moyo yesterday said the exercise was justified as most residents were reluctant to pay their bills.

The High Court last year ruled that water disconnections by local authorities countrywide without a court order were in breach of sections 77 and 44 of the Constitution guaranteeing the right to safe and clean water and compels the government to respect the rights.

Moyo yesterday told Southern Eye that council had resorted to disconnections as the legal route had proved cumbersome.

“As long as a resident is in one month’s arrears, they should be very worried that their water supplies would be disconnected,” he said.

‘The court processes are kind of complicated and take time, and besides when we go to the courts, residents will end up losing more as the Messenger of Court will attach their properties and the council does not want that.

“We encourage residents to engage with the council, to talk to us on payment terms and we will listen,” he said.

Council is owed millions in unpaid rates by residents and various government departments.

However, the Bulawayo Progressive Residents’ Association (Bpra) has vowed to protest against water disconnections arguing that the exercise exposed residents to waterborne diseases such as cholera.