Inter-ministerial committee set to resolve Harare water situation

Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
Cabinet has approved the establishment of an inter-ministerial committee to deal with the water supply situation for Harare, and is working on a centralised procurement process for treatment chemicals for all local authorities.

Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said this while briefing the media on the 34th Cabinet Meeting Decisions Matrix yesterday.

The decision by Cabinet follows the unilateral shutting down of Morton Jaffray Water Works by Harare City Council last week, a move that cut off households in the capital and its surrounding towns.

“Cabinet received a report on the Harare water supply situation from the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing. The report was prompted by developments during the previous week when the Harare Municipal authorities proceeded to completely shut down the Morton Jaffray Water Treatment Plant, citing lack of water treatment chemicals,” she said.

“Of greater concern to Cabinet was that such a far-reaching decision was taken without prior consultations with central Government. That notwithstanding, Cabinet endorsed the establishment of an inter-ministerial committee comprising the Ministers of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing; Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement; Finance and Economic Development, and the Harare City Council, to come up with strategies to conclusively resolve the Harare City water supply challenges in the short, medium and long term.”

Minister Mutsvangwa said the committee would seek investments into the city’s additional water resources. “The strategies will entail soliciting for investments into the city’s additional water supply sources, revamping of the water and sewer reticulation systems, boosting the water treatment works, and addressing the associated challenges of environmental pollution,” she said.

“For instance, as a long-term measure, Government is to expedite implementation of the Kunzvi-Musami-Greater Harare and the Muda-Nyatsime-Chitungwiza water supply projects. Furthermore, Government is working on a more centralised arrangement for the local procurement and production of water treatment chemicals for all local authorities.”

Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube said they had already received proposals for the projects that would be undertaken under a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.

“We have received proposals for the Kunzvi Dam and also Muda and Nyatsime. We think the best way is through these PPP projects where we will concession out these projects and they are able to recoup whatever their investments and they will handover back to the Government after 25 or 30 years depending on the length of the Concession,” said Prof Ncube.

He added that Government would clear its debts with local authorities. Prof Ncube also urged every Zimbabwean to pay their bills. He added that Government had released $72,3 million to other local authorities after disbursing $37,4 million to Harare. Bulawayo got $18,3 million; Chitungwiza $6,4 million; Bindura $5,6 million; Gweru $7 million; Norton $450 000; Chinhoyi $4,8 million; Shurugwi $3,6 million; Epworth $3,8 million; Kadoma $2,7 million; Marondera $6,6 million; Rusape $612 000; Ruwa $248 000; Chipinge $695 000; Mvurwi $1,5 million; Plumtree $1,8 million; and Mutare $8,9 million. Kwekwe would be given its money in due course.

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