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Masvingo rejects plans to take over city's water supplies
February 24, 2007

MASVINGO – Masvingo’s city council on Wednesday clashed with the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) over the parastatal’s move to take over water supplies in Zimbabwe’s olderst city. 

At a tense public works and planning committee meeting at the council’s offices on Wednesday, ZINWA indicated that it wanted to take over the city’s water system triggering strong opposition from councilors. 

Masvingo rejected the decision arguing that it would be unfair to hand over the water system to ZINWA after residents had directly invested in the city’s water augmentation project. 

Last year, residents in working class suburbs were levied about Z$2 000 per household while those in affluent suburbs paid Z$10 000 for the water project. 

The council is currently looking for Z$5 billion to complete the second phase of the project. 

“We told them that the water system does not belong to the local authority since residents invested in the project last year. What we want is for ZINWA to meet residents and explain its position. 

"If we do not meet the residents then it means that parastatal will never take over the project,” said Femias Chakabuda, a member of the council's public works and planning committee. 

Masvingo executive mayor Alois Chaimiti confirmed the impasse on Friday adding the council was expected to convene a meeting yesterday to discuss the matter. 

“It is true that council is opposed to the idea and we will convene a special council meeting to chart the way forward,” said Chaimiti, a senior official of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party. 

A senior ZINWA official identified as Mare insisted yesterday that they will go ahead with plans to take over the city’s water system as it was a directive from Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo. 

“We are not going to change the decision because this is a ministerial directive,” said Mare when contacted for comment yesterday. 

Earlier this month, hundreds of residents in Zimbabwe’s second biggest city of Bulawayo marched in the city to protest against plans by ZINWA to take over the city’s water supplies. 

Bulawayo residents accused ZINWA of serious inefficiency in areas it has been in charge such as the capital Harare where residents have gone for months on end without any water supplies. - ZimOnline  

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