THE entire city of Kwekwe has been without water for the past five days after the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) closed its valves at Sebakwe Dam over $1 million in an unpaid debt.
In a memo marked EM/sm/C10/6 dated November 10 sent to the mayor Matenda Madzoke and his councillors, town clerk Emmanuel Musara gave notice of the action taken by Zinwa.
“We write to inform that Zinwa cut our water supply on Friday November 7 2014,” he wrote.
“This is despite the fact that we signed a payment plan recently with them, which agreement neither party has dishonoured.”
The water cuts, which have affected more than 100 000 residents, also extend to Redcliff City Council which is dependent on Kwekwe for its water supplies.
Councillor Weston Masiya said he understood that Kwekwe owed Zinwa more than $900 000 for the supply of raw water from Sebakwe dam.
“We owe Zinwa $900 000 and I am informed that it is on this basis that the water supply was cut on Friday forcing our residents to fetch water from unsafe shallow wells and relieve themselves in the bush,” he said.
This is the second time this year that Zinwa has resorted to closing its taps in an attempt to force the cash-strapped Kwekwe to pay its debts to the water authority.
Madzoke said his council, like any other, was facing a liquidity crisis and was battling to pay its wages and salaries among other debts, but said it was committed to ensure that all service providers were paid.
“We are facing a financial crisis like every other industry in the country.
“As a local authority we are committed to paying our debts, but as you know, residents are failing to pay their bills,” he said.
According to Musara’s memo, council, represented by Valentine Mutatu, has since approached the High Court with the intention of forcing Zinwa to resume water supplies to the city.
“We are now busy fighting them at the courts over the matter, but meanwhile the entire city will experience water shortages,” he wrote. Mutatu refused to comment on the court application.