GWANDA municipality has buckled under pressure and shelved plans to roll out a pre-paid water system despite the local authority having applied for borrowing powers from the Local Government ministry to purchase meters.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
The town’s mayor Knowledge Ndlovu said the local authority had shelved plans to implement the pre-paid meter water system, but the gadgets will instead be installed on a voluntary basis.
Gwanda Residents’ Association spokesperson, Bekezela Maduma Fuzwayo welcomed the decision by the municipality to shelve what he described as an “evil pre-paid meter water system”.
“It is sweet to read news headlines that the municipality has bowed down to residents’ pressure to say no to prepaid water meters and left the evil meters open as an option for the elite to adopt at their discretion,” he said.
“The news is sweet music to us the residents of Gwanda, as it comes at a time when we are in the process of regrouping and formulating a strategy of our own resistance to the meters.
“It also comes at a time when we were in the process of rejecting our municipality’s application for powers to borrow $100 000 to purchase the pre-paid water meters.”
Fuzwayo said residents had until February 2 to object to the approval of the $100 000 borrowing powers the government had approved for Gwanda.
Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere last year gave Gwanda municipality the green light to install pre-paid water meters in the Matabeleland South capital. Reports at the time said councillors had claimed residents had approved the pre-paid water system, which is expected to improve water supply and revenue inflows into the local authority’s coffers.
However, GRA instead said Gwanda residents were against the gadgets, accusing the municipality of lying to the minister.
Gwanda municipality was already piloting the pre-paid meter water system, despite protests by residents.