By Nomalanga Moyo
SW Radio Africa
28 January 2014
The Chitungwiza City Council is reportedly preventing some residents from fetching water from a borehole located in one of the municipality’s suburbs.
The authorities blocked access to the sole borehole in the city’s Unit O high density suburb, accusing residents of failing to pay for water bills.
Hundreds of households were relying on the borehole as the council supply of potable water is limited to just once a week, according to a Daily News report.
The residents told the newspaper that they now feared contracting waterborne diseases such as cholera, typhoid and dysentery after they resorted to using unsafe water from nearby streams.
Chitungwiza Residents Trust coordinator Marvelous Kumalo told the newspaper that the council blocked access to the borehole a week ago, because residents were no longer paying their water bills as they had access to free water.
The borehole is one of many sunk by non-governmental organisations across Harare and Chitungwiza.
Some residents said boreholes built by the government under the Constituency Development Fund were either broken down or had been locked.
Chitungwiza resident Donald Makuwaza told SW Radio Africa that council authorities were claiming that the boreholes were undergoing maintenance work.
“But we know that the real reason is to try and stop people from accessing the water and maybe force them to pay their water bills.
“The council has no authority to do this because the borehole was provided for the use of residents by the donor community,” Makuwaza said.
It was not possible to speak to Kumalo as he was at Chitungwiza police station after being arrested for conducting a residents’ meeting to discuss the demolition of homes in the city.
Kumalo was arrested Tuesday afternoon, together with five other officials from the Chitungwiza Residents Trust.