Members of Parliament have called on the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement and the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) should hand back the Gwanda Municipality water treatment plant to the local authority as directed in 2016 in order to avert the continuous water disconnection and water challenges faced by the local authority.
The Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Reseetlement Hon Dr Masuka presented a statement in the August House yesterday (Wednesday 04 August 2021) as directed by Parliament on Tuesday 03 August 2021. Key highlkights of the Minister’s statement include:
- Beitbridge and Gwanda owe ZINWA ZW$407million out of the total ZW$507 million owed by all the 92 municipalities in the country. These two owe 80% of the ZINWA debt for Local Authorities and I have the detail of the debt for these two.
- Beitbridge made a single payment of ZW$14.8 million in June 2020, the only payment it made between January and July 2021, leading to a cumulative debt of ZW$198.3 million. For Gwanda, the debt accumulated from ZW$ 16 million in January 2020 to ZW$ 181 million in July 2021. The only major payment by Gwanda was a set off of a stand they gave to ZINWA valued at ZW$12 million in October 2020. Otherwise payments are about ZW$2 million monthly and very inadequate for the services that they are provided.
- Beitbridge municipality has submitted a payment plan for ZW$20 million per month and services were restored yesterday. Gwanda municipality has submitted a payment plan for ZW$5 million per month plus whatever Government pays to Gwanda Municipality for water bills and services were also restored yesterday.
In response to the Minister’s statement, Members of Parliament that included Hon Maphosa, Hon B. Dube, Hon Mokone, and Hon Dr Thokozani Khuphe reiterated that ZINWA should give Gwanda back its water treatment plant.
“In 1996, a directive was given that ZINWA should hand over treatment plants to the local authorities. To date, out of 32 Urban Local Authorities in 2013, 27 were given back their plants, except for Gwanda, Beitbridge, Plumtree, Karoi and Victoria Falls. As we speak, Karoi and Victoria Falls have been given their plants but Gwanda and Beitbridge have not been given back their plants” debated Hon Lindiwe Maphosa.
Hon Maphosa further argued that two commissions one led by Hon Sipepa and another by Hon Muchinguri both approved after the assessment that Gwanda could handle its water issues, in particular, the treatment plant. In December 2019, a delegation from Gwanda Local Authority came to see now late Hon. P Shiri who gave a directive that by August 2019, the water plant should have been given back to Gwanda town. The Minister of Local Government and Public Works also wrote a letter to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement specifying that Gwanda was ready to run its water plant.
Hon. Mokone weighed in on Hon. Maphosa’s appeal saying “I am down on my knees, pleading with the Minister today in this august House, to facilitate the process of handing over the plant from ZINWA to the local authorities, especially Gwanda and Beitbridge because that is where I come from, that is my area of concern. I am pleading with you today to please facilitate the hand over, take over because from the evidence that I gathered, everything has been done, what is left is for you to hand over the plant to the local authorities and then you talk about payment plans”.
In his response, the Minister Hon Dr Masuka said his Ministry will be very pleased and will celebrate handing over the treatment plant to Gwanda once they have finished the issues they are working on with ZINWA and the Ministry. “I expect that Gwanda will be able to accelerate the handover when they finish the various issues that Ministry of Local Government and ZINWA officials are working with them to do. We will be very pleased to handover to Gwanda. So, I look forward to a celebratory day together with Hon. Ministers where Gwanda will be running its own affairs and I look forward to that in the not too distant future”. He however said Beitbridge is not ready for the handover takeover and they are working with them.
MIHR will be engaging the Municipality of Gwanda to establish what are the issues that are outstanding as alluded to by the Minister and when those issues (if any) are expected to be finished.