Bulawayo mayor Martin Moyo says the local authority should be given a chance to assess the use of water meters that have been rejected by most Zimbabweans. He says the controversial meters are designed to benefit residents and the city council, which is likely to cut down operational costs if they are introduced.
Moyo told Studio 7 Friday that plans are at an advanced stage for the city to introduce the meters as tenders have already been invited to apply for the procurement of the gadgets, which will be initially installed in the first phase of the project in Cowdray Park high density suburb.
The mayor acknowledged arguments against the introduction of pre-paid water meters on the basis that it would mean that some people would not be able to access clean water as they may not be able to buy the water on a pre-paid basis.
But he said there are huge costs involved in availing water to residents and revealed that the council owes the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority $58 million in water pumping charges.
“The concept of free water in a city is not applicable, it’s applicable outside…those that go to the river and fetch water, that water is free. But this water we have gone into an expense to process it so that it is potable, it can be used without any danger to life coming from diseases that are water-borne.”
Moyo urged residents and other stakeholders to give council a chance to introduce and assess the usage of water metres saying that it could turn out to be beneficial to both council and residents.
He said if the council realizes that the idea of pre-paid meters is not viable, it will abandon them.
Turning to the issue of illegal vending, Moyo said his council has been working with vendors to identify designated places and allocating them to informal traders.
He said the council applied for an extension to extend a ministerial directive to evict the vendors from the city center.
“We do not believe in fighting with vendors; let’s manage them. Let’s remove them from where we don’t want them to work because they are interfering with other people’s business, or they are blocking the streets, and so move them to where we think it is allowable. There will always be a situation where you have the errant ones who come right into the CBD but those are not many and I think we have the capacity to deal with them.”
In other news from Bulawayo, the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair Company says all is set for this year’s edition of Mine Entra.
ZITF general manager Noma Ndlovu told journalists today the 84 per cent of the exhibition space has been taken and 147 exhibitors, including five foreign companies having registered to attend. The foreign exhibitors are from China, Germany and South Africa.
Ndlovu said this year’s edition, which is the 20th since the first one in 1996, is coming at a time when there various problems in the mining sector including depressed mineral prices on the global market.
“We appreciate that Mine Entra at 20 is taking place at a time when the mining industry is facing challenges primarily the capacity challenges due to depressed mineral prices but all the same we believe that there is value in profiling the sector as it still is a large contributor to our GDP and exports as well as overall revenue,” she said.
Ndlovu said part of the Mine Entra programme will include a golf tournament whose proceeds will be channeled towards the welfare of some mine workers injured while at work as well as a conference for small scale and artisanal miners.
The theme for this year’s event is Unearthing Opportunities. It will run from July 21st to July 24th.