Council needs $2,9bn to set up water utility

HARARE - The Harare City Council (HCC) which is struggling to meet water supply demand needs about $2,9 billion which will be used to set up the local authorities water utility.

HCC is currently negotiating with a firm in Singapore, Neoparagon for the funds.

Harare deputy mayor Thomas Muzuva last week revealed that the money will assist in the construction and rehabilitation of the Kunzvi, Muda and Musami dams.

The funds will also set up structures for the Harare Water Utility which will now have its own board of directors as part of council’s efforts to provide water for the city’s growing population.

Muzuva who was speaking during a full council meeting said the resolution to make Harare Water a utility was made during a council meeting last year.

According to minutes of the council meeting, the acting town clerk Josephine Ncube said that the matter to appoint directors was under consideration, with a progress report to be submitted to the relevant committee.

“It was council’s view that the Board of Directors would superintend the affairs of the utility to ensure that operations as well as service delivery was to the satisfaction of Harare residents,” read part of the minutes.

Muzuva told the meeting that from the project, council would own 30 percent for 30 years while Neoparagon would get the remaining 70 percent.

This comes as Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo had earlier advised Harare Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni to stall the appointment of board of directors for Harare Water.

Muzuva concurred with Chombo adding that the project should be done under Greater Harare Water Company.

“The minister was somehow correct in advising him to stall the appointment of directors because if we handle it as council some other stakeholders will not be present,” he said adding that; “Greater Harare incorporates Harare, Norton, Chitungwiza and Ruwa and Neoparagon the sponsor and their absence in the decisions will be seen as fraud.”

Ncube however told the councillors that there was no agreement as yet but the funding process with Neoparagon was still being negotiated.

She said the water issue in Harare had been given national status as evidenced by activities financed with the $144 million China Exim Bank loan facility that is rehabilitating Morton Jaffray (MJ) water works.

“The negotiations with Neoparagon are going to be a provincial solution to water and if they fall through we will have to look for other partners on the project,” Ncube said.

She said when the project was fully funded with a reliable partner, Harare would be able to provide the service effectively.

There was however confusion as councillors claimed they were not told of the Singapore partner and only found out in the meeting.

Councillor Allan Markham said it was important to brief councillors beforehand so that they are not surprised by certain revelations.

“We need to know what is going on in council so that we do not appear clueless as in the case with the Chinese issue,” Markham said.

Manyenyeni indicated that curriculum vitaes had been submitted to Muzuva for directors’ positions.

Morton Jaffray water works’ maximum pumping capacity is 614 megalitres however it can only pump 400 megalitres while Prince Edward pumps 60 megalitres against a capacity of 90 megalitres.

Dogged by perennial water shortages parts of Mabvuku, Glen Norah, Glen View, Budiriro, Highfield and Kuwadzana are the most affected while residents in areas such as Glen Lorne and Greendale have resorted to drilling boreholes.

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