Hundreds of Bulawayo residents Friday marched in the city to protest against council’s intended move to introduce prepaid water metres.
The residents, who were carrying placards criticising the council’s plan, later converged at Stanley Square in the Makokoba high density suburb close to the city where they listened to addressed by leaders of various residents representative groupings and other civic organisations including Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association.
Speakers who included invited guests from other sister organisations like, Chitungwiza Residents Trust, Masvingo United Residents Association criticised the introduction of prepaid water metres in the country’s cities and towns saying access to potable water is a basic human right enshrined in the country’s constitution.
A ZCTU representative Reason Ngwenya, who is the organisation’s western region chairperson said most ordinary Zimbabweans are suffering because of the country’s economic problems and they won’t be able to afford pre-paid water, adding that the move could result in disease and death due to lack of access to clean water.
This view was echoed by many residents who spoke to Studio 7.
Speakers lashed at the council plans, saying the water meters were detrimental for residents.
Officials from the Chitungwiza Residents Trust, Masvingo United Residents Association, among others also delivered solidarity speeches.
One of the protest leaders Mmeli Dube says the residents of Bulawayo will not allow the local authority to install the meters.
“What those thousands of people from Bulawayo are saying is that we now have information – we have been given information by civil society organizations – we now know that the council of Bulawayo has come up with a policy that will injure us, that will hurt us and we are saying no to this privatization of water,” said Dube.