Harare residents sell water on black market

HARARE - Harare’s water shortages are coming as a blessing for some enterprising residents, who have opened their own black market niche.

Combined Harare Residents Association (Chra) executive director Mfundo Mlilo confirmed receiving reports of hordes of youths taking advantage of the situation to make a few more dollars.

“We have received reports from Budiriro, Kuwadzana and Mabvuku of unidentified youths taking advantage of the desperate situation to sell water on the black market.

We also understand there have been cases although unreported of fistfights because there are just not enough boreholes to go by,” Mlilo told the Daily News on Sunday.

He added that Chra would demand from government to declare the water situation in the country a national disaster.

“This should prompt the international community to help. The City of Harare loses half of its water through leakages, gets 50 percent of its revenue from water but does not have a long term plan to solve the water crisis.

“And now that this issue has taken a national dimension, we believe government must now come and help with strategic planning to arrest the problem,” said Mlilo.

Harare Town Clerk Tendai Mahachi refused to comment, referring questions to council spokesperson Leslie Gwindi who was unavailable.

At the height of Zimbabwe’s economic meltdown, almost every commodity, except water, was sold on the black market.

Harare’s suburbs have suffered from water shortages for years but the problem seemed to deepen in recent weeks.

The Daily News on Sunday visited Budiriro, Mufakose and Glen Norah where long queues at churches, schools and industrial sites have surfaced.

“They are selling water at kwaMhishi at the far western end of Mufakose. How are we supposed to survive in a situation like this?”

At a house in Mufakose, water obtained from a fertiliser manufacturing company near the suburb was clearly on the market.

A two-litre container was going for five rand, for 10 litres one has to part with $2 while 20 litres went for $4.

In Glen Norah, residents were fetching water from shallow wells while water was on sale at a Zanu PF-aligned cooperative between the suburb and Glen View1.

Harare caters for almost five million residents inclusive of the dormitory town of Chitungwiza and the satellite Ruwa.

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