THE Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) yesterday said it was mobilising over 10 000 residents to take into the streets this Friday in protest against council’s recent move to install prepaid water meters in the city.
by NQOBILE BHEBHE
The planned demonstration comes as residents and civic society groups have strongly argued against implementation of the project, arguing that commercialisation of water would spawn the outbreak of waterborne diseases such as typhoid and cholera as poor communities end up drawing water from unprotected sources.
BPRA coordinator Rodrick Fayayo said they were planning to hold 12 public meetings in each of Bulawayo’s 12 constituencies to mobilise members to participate in the protest march.
“Civil society organisations in Bulawayo under the banner of the Right to Water Campaign shall be holding a 10 000 people march and rally on September 4, 2015 in protest against the move by the Bulawayo City Council to install prepaid water meters in city,” Fayayo said.
The Right to Water Campaign is a brainchild of civic society groups from Bulawayo that advocates for free access to water. The campaign was launched last year with residents organising demonstrations, public meetings and door-to-door campaigns against prepaid meters.
“Essentially therefore, the water march and rally are against the move by the Bulawayo City Council to install prepaid water meters in Bulawayo, not only without consultation of residents, but also despite the fact that residents have expressed their disapproval of the proposal,” he said.
However, council has vowed to go ahead with the project arguing the move would enable it to boost its revenue base as residents pay in advance for their water supplies.
Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere has rallied behind the project and implored all local authorities to install prepaid water meters to recoup their reticulation costs.