Mutare’s botched water project costly


The Mutare City Council is expected to splurge thousands of dollars following a botched water project deal, meant to end perennial water woes for the over 200,000 residents of Dangamvura high density suburb.

Business Times can report that the local authority is currently uprooting pipes on a three-kilometre stretch laid several years ago after realising they were not properly set.

Mutare city council spokesperson Spren Mutiwi said the digging up of the pipeline was necessary as the local authority was replacing the smaller pipes with those wider in diameter and stronger ones imported from South Africa.

“We are exhuming some of the pipes because they will not be able to withstand the high pressure since they were done manually and leaving them will create problems in the shortest period,” Mutiwi said.

“We now have the required stuff, but we still need more material and to procure more equipment and that hinges on the council securing the $450,000 required to execute the works.”

He said the council is committed to ending the perennial water shortages that have dogged Dangamvura for decades.

“So its serious work is being carried out as we move to retiring the perennial problem in Dangamvura. We are very much committed to address the Dangamvura water shortages and give our residents a dignified living standard that befits urban set up,” Mutiwi said.

“Funding is the key to the success of the project and this is now being funded internally hence the need for residents to pay their outstanding debts becomes a key component.

We are owed millions of dollars and we believe that once the debtors begin to decline that will give impetus to the project.”

Mutare mayor, Blessing Tandi, told Business Times that the issue was not about the cost of the removal of the pipes but ending a perennial water challenge for the city.

“We need to be focussed on addressing an issue that is affecting the city’s legacy.

Yes, there is a cost issue but once we are done with this project, we know we would have done our part and finish the work started by the late Alderman Mudehwe (Lawrence),” Tandi said.

Mudehwe is Mutare’s former mayor who pioneered the Pungwe Water Project that was engineered by Skanska drawing water from the Pungwe River into the eastern border city through gravitational flow.

Tandi admitted the laying of the pipes which are being uprooted was done at a time when the council did not have an engineer and thus the current problem.

“Yes, at the time the council did not have an engineer and someone with a plumping background supervised the work, but now we have a substantive water engineer overseeing everything,” he said.

But Mutare residents viewed this as a sign of incompetence on the part of the local authority.

Edison Dube of the United Mutare Residents and Ratepayers Trust castigated the council for being inconsiderate of the residents’ woes.

“The council is reckless and careless, they know the residents and businesses are struggling to pay their dues but they continue with their poor workmanship and still pass the cost on the overburdened.

It is time the residents and ratepayers voice their concerns on this kind of poor governance and accountability on the part of this council,” Dube said.

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