Bulawayo youths (both males and females) are the main perpetrators of conflicts and violence at alternative waterpoints that include boreholes, wells, bowsers, and water kiosks.
According to the Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights 2021 survey entitled “Fighting for Water – Perspectives of Women and Girls on Conflicts and Violence at Bulawayo’s Alternative Water Point Violence” which was conducted in 7 Bulawayo wards, respondents ranked perpetrators of conflicts and violence at alternative waterpoints and male youths were ranked 91%, female youths 56% while both adult males and females were ranked 30%.
Some respondents from Luveve and Magwegwe explained that there were male youths who called themselves ‘Water Mafias’ who terrorized them at borehole queues. “We used to wake up at 3am to queue at the borehole and the water mafias will come around 10am and kick our buckets away and start pumping for their truck” lamented an old woman from Old Luveve.
Water mafias were bands of 6-10 youths who were hired by pickup trucks to help them pump water and they would carry axes and knives.
MIHR is advocating for an engendered and human rights based emergency water management system during acute water shortages in Bulawayo.