BULAWAYO City Council (BCC) has launched a water disconnection blitz in the city’s suburbs to recover over $90 million owed by residents.
A previous High Court order declared that local authorities must only disconnect water after obtaining a court order but residents said yesterday that there was no such order.
The latest blitz saw some residents spending the Christmas and New Year holidays without water.
BCC senior public relations officer Nesisa Mpofu yesterday said there is nothing amiss with the disconnection programme as it is meant to encourage residents to pay bills.
“Water disconnection in the city’s suburbs is not a new thing. This is something that occurs throughout the city because there are some people who do not pay their rates. The council is expected to provide clean water to its residents hence the local authority needs money to provide this service,” said Mpofu.
“We encourage residents to come and present their challenges to council. If you see council descending on your house to disconnect water, it will be after a realisation that you have not committed towards payment of rates. Also you would not have made plans on how you will clear your debt.”
She said the BCC was encouraging residents to come forward to make payment plans regarding the payment of bills.
“Let us help each other to build the city,” she added.
Pumula MP Godfrey Malaba said water disconnections were hurting struggling residents.
“I’ve received reports from some of the residents who had their water disconnected because of their debts. We observe that the council is trying to recover its monies but it’s not like people do not want to pay the rates. They are struggling to pay the rates. We have assisted two or three elderly people in the constituency who had nothing. We had to pay for them so that their water is reconnected while they made payment plans,” said Malaba.
He said the water disconnections could result in disease outbreaks.
Malaba challenged residents to strive to pay their bills saying they should remember that to receive services they should play a role in their provision.