A health disaster is looming in Chitungwiza as streams of sewage continue to flow through most areas, with some of them stretching for up to several kilometres.
Chitungwiza Municipality said it required at least $14 million to attend to most of the problems which tend to worsen whenever residents receive water.
With cholera outbreaks still being reported in some towns in the country, fears abound that Chitungwiza might soon be a victim of the water-borne disease.
Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Deputy Minister Jennifer Mhlanga toured the town yesterday and met residents who apprised her of their problems and fears.
Speaking during the tour, she said her visit was about Government taking action together with its partners and the local authority.
“The expectation here is for Chitungwiza to migrate to a smart city,” said Deputy Minister Mhlanga.
“Your proximity to Harare should really cause you to want to move to become a better city. We want our water to be right, but of course we are talking about the sewer today. When we talk about a smart city, we are saying your waste management should be right, your refuse collection up-to-date, your industrial and your solid waste treated properly. We also want to avoid dark cities.
“Chitungwiza has brought out its problem, particularly about the sewer, that is the correct way to go about it. I think that once we begin to appreciate and acknowledge our problems, we should be able to sit down and address them. I am sure Chitungwiza’s dream will come true.”
Deputy Minister Mhlanga said rate payers expected meaningful service from council to be able to continue to pay their rates. She said if councils collected money from ratepayers, but did not provide a semblance of service delivery, it would continue to have problems with revenue collection.
“We must endeavour at least to provide some form of service each month, with each collection so that our ratepayers continue to be faithful to us,” said Deputy Minister Mhlanga.
“We want to thank Higherlife for coming in to partner our Government in the Second Republic. We are indeed there to work with you and your passion of wanting to eliminate cholera completely in the country is also shared by the Government.”
Chitungwiza Town Clerk Dr George Makunde said the St Mary’s Sewer Trunk Rehabilitation Phase One was the first step in the rehabilitation of the overburdened and aged sewer infrastructure in Chitungwiza Town.
“The town, due to the age of its infrastructure, is in violation of almost all technical tenets of the management of human settlements, as well as the Constitution of Zimbabwe,” he said.
“The environment, due to sewer breakdowns, is not fit for human habitation.”
He said council required $14 324 143 for the sewer project and had set aside $2 864 828.
Higherlife Foundation, which has been supporting Harare City Council with its sewer projects, was invited by Civil Protection Unit director Mr Nathan Nkomo to get a feel of the problems faced by Chitungwiza residents.
Speaking during the tour, Higherlife representative Dr Farai Charasika said his organisation made a commitment to work on eliminating cholera in Zimbabwe in the next five to 10 years.
Source : The Herald