MDC, Chra clash over prepaid water meters

HARARE - The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and Combined Harare Residents Association (Chra) have clashed over the local authorities’ plan to introduce prepaid water meters.

An MDC official, Eddie Cross, has ordered residents to abort their countrywide anti-prepaid water meters campaigns being spearheaded by Zimbabwe United Residents Associations to which Chra is a member.

In a letter to Chra, Cross said he saw little sense in the campaign against prepaid meters and listed among other reasons that nearly half the revenue of all local authorities is derived from water sales.

“We are committed to giving low income households either free water on a case by case basis or a flat fee allocation per household of 6 000 to 10 000 litres per month.

“Prepaid meters are the only way to collect revenue from all users and to force many users such as the army, police and others to pay for water if they want a supply.

“Prepaid electronic meters are the only way to monitor system leakages. Ask any rate payer if the option was to have no water or prepaid meters and their response would be meters,” Cross told Chra.

The MDC secretary for local government said the implementation would start with commercial and bulk consumers and then follow with low density housing and lastly with high density areas.

In Chra’s letter to the MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai, they argued that Cross is contradicting what party secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora has said at different fora that water is a right and should not be sold for profit.

The residents’ association charged that Cross was not in sync with what is happening on the ground considering that most councils are failing to provide water to their residents daily.

“We are sure Cross is really not in touch with the daily struggles of residents of Harare. There are few if any low-income households that use that much water (6 000 to

10 000 litres) considering the water challenges in Harare,” Chra said.

Chra added that the points raised by Cross are  not empirical and are elitist slogans that are not supported by any research work.

“The MDC needs to do an in-depth study to support its policy position on prepaid meters as few if any of the points raised by Cross hold any water. They are just suppositions, unsupported by fact or best practice,” read part of the letter.

Residents have been demonstrating against councils arguing that they should first provide water before wanting to be paid.

A report conducted by the World Bank showed that prepaid meters cost about $210, compared to typical conventional mechanical meter, of about $50.

With most Harare households, paying about $10 in water bills, it would take the Harare City Council approximately 21 months to recoup the cost of the prepaid meters.

Comments (6)

Thank you bro Eddie Cross.what we need for Zim to recover is to have a vision about things and not just cry foul over immediate issues that wont take the nation anywhere in the long run

carson macate - 4 May 2015

Can somebody out there tell me what is wrong with pe-paid water meters?I do not understand.

Macheka - 5 May 2015

....and also show me a household that is billed $10 per month. These people refusing to have prepaid meters are waiting for Chombo in 2018 to scrap away the bills again. vamwe no cent since 2013. tingakura here tisingabhadhare zvinhu

rex - 5 May 2015

who told you that police and army are not paying for water you white pig Cross?

Chasura - 5 May 2015

the army and police have a tendency not to pay their bills. i support the idea od prepaid water meters as it will improve revenue collection. like someone said, some people are waiting for the governemnt to scrap off bills bduring the 2018 national election campaign and will neve never pay for their water. surprisingly, we are using pre paid for our phones, electricity, medical aids, school fees even though there is load shedding, and are asked to pay upfront by our medical aid companies, and more so, when our children even fail at school. prepaid meters are the way to go!

hey - 6 May 2015

This prepaid is a noble idea in its sense but i am worried especially with the case of Chitungwiza council will it not at the end of the day further go into the same fat cats' pockets while the general hands workers have gone for more than twenty months without pay on the side a Mangwana and partners on other hand is collecting money owed by residents for himself

tazminto - 6 May 2015

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