Mutasa community eyes Pungwe water

SYDNEY SAIZE IN MUTARE

Villagers in Mutasa District, Manicaland Province, are pushing for government to help them access water from the Pungwe pipeline which supplies water to the City of Mutare, Business Times can report.

Mutare city draws water from Pungwe, which flows from Zimbabwe into Mozambique into Indian Ocean. Mutare and Beira get water supply through an inter-city catchment transfer facility where the amount each city draws from the river is limited. The pipeline was constructed in 1996 by Norwegian company Skanska and passes through Mutasa.

But, Mutasa villagers have not benefited from the pipeline.

They are now calling for the government to intervene; a move they say will alleviate the crippling poverty for thousands of households that need to make use of the water.

“What is worrisome is that we are being asked to pay US$62 from each family to pay for the water which we require in our community, the people behind this say the money is for the purchasing of water pipes,” Rueben Nyatsanza, a community leader in Mutasa, told Business Times.

He added: “So ordinarily we requested a meeting with the ZANU-PF Member of Parliament (MP) to clarify the matter with us before we lose our money to the people who are asking for the payments.

Another villager, Susan Gwaze, said she expected the MP for Mutasa Central, Trevor Saruwaka to engage donors who can assist the community to access water from the pipeline.

Contacted for comment this week, Saruwaka, told Business Times that villagers need to wait for devolution funds to be disbursed from central government before locals make contribution on the purchasing of the pipes.

ZANU-PF Mutasa district chairperson, Joseph Ziwewe said it was time that the community came together for the common good.

“I am happy that the people of Terera in Ward 17 have found each other despite political differences to fight for one common cause that is water for their area as in line with President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s declaration that water is for every one and for every household.

Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) Save Catchment Area manager, Tsitsi Muyambo said ZINWA has not authorised the payment of US$62 to be paid by each household.

“As far as I know it is not ZINWA policy to compel communities to make such demands of monetary contributions towards what they want to have. We are going to have a meeting with them to chat the way forward.”

Efforts to get a comment from Mutasa District chief executive officer, George Bandure, were futile.

Mutare City Council Mayor, Blessing Tandi, said the local authority has no problem in sharing their water with the Mutasa community.

But, the city would want some payment to compensate for what he said was “good business practice’’ since the local authority was incurring costs from the pipeline.

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