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Harare Residents Condemn High Court Ruling Allowing Council to Cut Off Water Supplies

Most urban areas are facing serious water challenges in Zimbabwe.

Some Harare residents have reacted angrily to Tuesday’s High Court decision allowing the Harare City Council to disconnect water supplies over unpaid water bills.

One of the furious Hatcliffe inhabitants, Zivanai Chirwa, described the court’s decision as cruel.

David Mukunda, who lives in the Avenues area, said the ruling would mostly affect the majority of people who are failing to cope with life as the country’s economic meltdown shows no signs of abating.

He told Studio 7 that most Harare residents cannot afford to pay the high bills that the local authority is charging them, adding that senior government officials have also been evading payment of their bills with authorities taking no action against them.

Westgate resident, Coerzette Chirinda, weighed in saying women and children are going to suffer the most if the council goes ahead with water disconnections as they use more water everyday than men.

Another Harare residentTakudzwa Dzumbunu of Mabelreign said the High Court decision allowing authorities to disconnect water supplies infringes on the constitutional rights of citizens to the precious liquid.

Chirinda added that the water disconnections may result in the resurfacing of water-borne diseases such as cholera that have killed many people in the past.

Several residents that spoke to Studio 7 said they were failing to pay their bills because of the prevailing harsh economic conditions with some of them complaining that the city council’s billing system is also defective.

Efforts to get a comment from city council spokesperson, Michael Chideme, were fruitless at the time of going on air.

But city mayor Bernard Manyenyeni is on record saying consumers should pay their water bills to enable the municipality to provide clean and safe drinking water in their homes.

Council argues that it requires money to purchase water treatment chemicals and to service its water treatment plant as well as repairing old water pipes.