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Local government media tracker – 25 November 2013
Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)
November 25, 2013

Harare bush poops due to water crisis
The New Zimbabwe

More and more Zimbabweans are now being forced to relieve themselves outdoors, particularly in Harare, where several areas go for months without running water supplies. The crisis in the capital has also seen residents resort to drinking water from shallow, unprotected wells that are often contaminated with sewage. Josephine Ngirazi, 35, of Chizhanje area in Mabvuku said that persistent water supply cuts have left them with no option but to relieve themselves in the open. “We have gone a long time without water and electricity but rates for our houses in Chizhanje are much more expensive than other houses in Mabvuku,” she said. “As we speak right now there is no water so we have resorted to open defection behind the durawall at our place. We have also had to dig shallow wells for drinking water.” Ngirazi said residents use tablets to purify and cure the water but only get the pills when there is a report of typhoid. “If there is no one who has fallen ill there is no supply of these tablets,” she said. She added that most staff at Nazareth Hospital in the capital now knows her because of her regular visits there. “My daughter has been sick from typhoid four to five times,” she added. Senior researcher for Zimbabwe Human Rights Watch, Dewa Mavhinga said: “From the interviews that we conducted people do not have access to portable water although the new constitution guarantees the right to water. UNICEF said one billion still defecate in the open. “Access to a safe, clean toilet should be a basic right for everyone, yet 36 percent of the world’s population still lives without them. “This has grave implications on people’s health, wellbeing, dignity, as well as on the environment, and social and economic development.

Zimbabwe’s capital at risk from poor water

US News

Zimbabwe's capital is at risk of a new cholera outbreak caused by collapsed water treatment and sanitation facilities. Residents in Harare's most impoverished townships have little access to clean piped water and often resort to drinking water from wells contaminated with faeces and must defecate in the open. "The conditions violate their rights to sanitation and health," the rights group said in a 60-page report in 2012 and 2013. Once a city known for its cleanliness, good water and services, Harare has deteriorated. Many Harare neighbourhoods are plagued by chronic diarrhoea and typhoid and are threatened by another cholera epidemic, said Tiseke Kasambala, the group's southern Africa director. In 2008, more than 4,000 people died from cholera across the country because of a breakdown in water treatment and sanitation. More than 3,000 typhoid cases have been reported in Harare in the last year, the group said. The poor conditions that allowed the 2008 cholera epidemic to flourish still persist in the capital's townships, said the report titled "Troubled Water: Burst Pipes, Contaminated Wells and Open Defecation in Zimbabwe's Capital." Piped water throughout Harare is erratic and sometimes as little as a few hours every two weeks.

Harare Mayor’s Cheer Fund donates
The Herald

The Harare Mayor's Cheer Fund will donate various goods to nine charities in the city. Mayoress Fran Manyenyeni kick-started the noble deed with the distribution of groceries and foodstuffs to Danai Children's Home. The Mayoress is also expected this week to make donations to Chinyaradzo Children's Home, Society for Destitute and Aged (SODA), Arcadia Day Care Centre, Hupenyu Hutsva, Mufakose Day Care Centre, Kuwadzana Day Care, Zororo Day Care Centre and Highfield Day Care Centre. The donations consisted of washing powder, bathing soap, lotions, clothing materials and an array of grocery products. The fund got overwhelming support from companies, churches and other well- wishers.

Women bear brunt of Zimbabwe’s water crisis
The Zimbabwe Independent

The findings are contained in a report by HRW titled Troubled Water: Burst Pipes, Contaminated Wells and Open Defecation in Zimbabwe’s Capital, launched. The research was carried out in eight high-density suburbs in Harare between October 2012 and September 2013. According to the report, children, especially girls, were disproportionally affected by lack of access to water as girls are often responsible for fetching the precious liquid from boreholes or unprotected wells. “Girls who are menstruating face numerous challenges in attending school, including lack of appropriate disposal of sanitary pads, severe overcrowding with insufficient toilets, inadequate water supply and little provision for hand washing,” the report says. HRW senior researcher Dewa Mavhinga said government should immediately adopt new policies to solve the water shortages without sacrificing the urban poor. The Combined Harare Residents Association said the local authority should ring fence revenue from the water account and only use it to rehabilitate the system and procure water treatment chemicals.

Harare refurbishes filthy public toilets
New Zimbabwe

Harare City Council says it has embarked on a massive refurbishment of its 128 public toilets throughout the capital most of which have not been working for years. Most of the toilets in the city centre had been closed due to blockages blamed council’s failure to maintain them. As a result commuter operators and residents were, and are still, resorting to urinating in empty bottle drinks which they dump anywhere in the streets and bus termini such as Forth street Copa Cabana and Market Square. Residents have expressed outrage at the state of the city’s public toilets. It’s no longer the sunshine city that we used to know. It is all faeces and urine everywhere and we wonder what the local authorities are doing,” said a middle aged woman at Fourth Street bus terminus. The city council charges 50 US cents for using the few operating toilets in the city centre. Councillor Allan Markham, the chairperson of the finance and development committee, told that they hope to finish the refurbishment process before the end of the year.

Millions of lives at risk over government water provision failures
Short Wave Radio

The Zimbabwe government has been warned that it is putting millions of lives at risk by failing to provide access to clean water in Harare, with a leading human rights group calling the water situation a serious crisis. Human Rights Watch launched a detailed report on the water situation in the capital, where access to clean water has been severely limited for years. The 60-page report, “Troubled Water: Burst Pipes, Contaminated Wells, and Open Defecation in Zimbabwe’s Capital,” describes how residents have little access to potable water and sanitation services, and often resort to drinking water from shallow, unprotected wells that are contaminated with sewage. Human Rights Watch said the conditions violate people’s rights to water, sanitation, and health. The report is based on research conducted in 2012 and 2013 in Harare, including 80 interviews with residents, mostly women, in eight high-density suburbs. Many residents told Human Rights Watch that the lack of household water forced them to wait for water at boreholes for up to five hours a day and that violence frequently erupted when lines were long. People also believe these same boreholes are the safest water option available, but according got Human Rights Watch, one-third of boreholes tested showed contamination. Some residents described raw sewage flowing into their homes and streets from burst pipes, in which children frequently played. The water shortage and the lack of functioning indoor toilets or community latrines sometimes gave them no choice but to defecate outdoors. Simbarashe Moyo, the chairman of the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) said a sustainable solution was needed, but he expressed concern that the authorities did not appear committed to solving the problem. He raised concern that officials have not responded to the Human Rights Watch report, despite being given time to study it and being invited to join “The absence of City authorities is a clear indication of people who are in denial about the reality on the ground. What we need is a sustainable solution from the city of Harare. In the short term, people need water on a daily basis so we need short term solutions to provide people with clean, potable water every day,” Moyo said

City waterworks to shut down for 24 hours
The Herald

The Harare City Council will temporarily shut down the Morton Jaffray Water plant to allow engineers to work on burst pipes. Town Clerk Dr Tendai Mahachi said the shutdown would enable engineers to work on the problem.” The water plant will be temporarily shut down to enable our engineers to work on the problem. Dr Mahachi said the city had been experiencing continuous water pipe bursts at Morton Jaffray and at the Warren Control Pump stations hence the need to fix the problem. "The City of Harare is experiencing a lot of water pipe bursts along the main water lines between Morton Jaffray Water Treatment Plant and the Warren Control Pump Station. The bursts are a result of the high pressure attributed to the high volumes of water pumped from the treatment plant," he said.

ZESA tariffs too high
The Herald

Industry has reiterated that high electricity tariffs continue to pose a danger to the survival of most companies. Speaking during a tour of Zim Alloys Limited in Gweru recently by Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha, Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries Midlands chapter vice president, Mr Jabulani Chirasha said high tariffs being charged by Zesa Holdings were stifling the local manufacturing sector’s viability. Mr Chirasha said there was need for Zesa Holdings and its subsidiaries to reduce their tariffs to enable companies that have plunged into huge debts to resuscitate. “Zesa needs to realise that they are a service provider and a strategic parastatal that should not concentrate on making profit but providing service to the local industry that can turn around the country’s economy,” he said. “Zesa must make sure that the industry is functional and ensure adequate power is there for the industry so that the industry generates money for the country.” Energy and Power Development Minister Dzikamai Mavhaire recently urged companies owing Zesa and its subsidiary companies to settle their debts to also ensure that the power utility would be able to supply electricity to the nation as and when it is needed.

Budget delays disastrous
The Daily News

Zimbabwe's continued delay in announcing the 2014 National Budget is not only disastrous for business but for the whole economy. Already everyone in the country is now feeling the effects of the absence of a sustainable roadmap for economic management. Since the new government was inaugurated in August, the economy has been deteriorating significantly with the business community waiting for policy direction. This lack of direction is being felt in every sector of the economy. Demand has shrunk, volumes are not moving and debts are not being paid. Many companies are going for months without paying workers their wages. The much-touted blue-print dubbed the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio Economic Transformation (ZimAsset) has failed to halt the economic decline, which is threatening to break the country’s social and moral fibre. Unemployment levels in the country have reached alarming levels and something needs to be done urgently to stop this scourge. Every week, companies are filing for liquidation and each month thousands of employees are being thrown into the streets as firms are fiercely engaged in the race to the bottom. At the same time, school and college graduates are being churned out yearly adding to the already ballooning unemployment rate. We are raising a generation of people who will live and grow without ever making a meaningful contribution of their youth strength and energy to their country’s developmental needs. No nation on earth can prosper when it allows its huge youthful manpower strength to remain idle and go to waste. This is a national crisis of large proportions that clearly needs a marshal plan and deliberate government national policy to tackle and solve with the urgency it deserves.

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