By Nomalanga Moyo
SW Radio Africa
24 January 2014
Residents at Hwange Colliery, in Matebeleland North, have been experiencing water problems since December when the main pump broke down.
Residents at the coal mining town now fear an outbreak of diseases such as cholera and typhoid, if the water problem persists.
“It’s now a health hazard because the toilets are not being cleaned,” one of the workers, Welshman Moyo, told SW Radio Africa Friday.
Moyo said the authorities have said water will be rationed until the pump returns from Harare, and sometimes there is no water for two days.
“We don’t understand why they sent it to be fixed in Harare because there is a shop locally where the pump could have been repaired.
“The water is being rationed across all the townships but the hardest-hit were Number 2, 3, and Cinderella where general workers and their families live.
“The rationing measures however do not affect the Number 1 section, where the bosses (managers) live,” Moyo added.
Moyo said the pump is old but when workers asked the mining authorities to replace it, they were told there are no funds.
The mining town does not have any boreholes to use as backup, and residents who miss the opportunity to fill up during the few hours when water is turned on have to wait for the next time, he added.
Another colliery resident told the NewsDay newspaper Thursday that they sometimes spend the whole day queuing for water.
“A councillor for the (Nguminja) ward has been providing a water bowser, but on Wednesday people queued from 6am until the end of the day. We were told the councillor was instructed by some high office not to supply the water,” the resident said.
Businessman and former Hwange West MP Jealous Sansole told SW Radio Africa that he failed to get water to drink and to fill up his car radiator when he visited the colliery Wednesday.
“I left the town very thirsty, but at the time I was not aware that colliery residents have gone for so long without any water,” Sansole said.