Legislators oppose prepaid water meters

MASVINGO - Legislators from the local government parliamentary portfolio committee have joined residents here in resisting the installation of prepaid water meters, arguing privatisation of water was inhuman.

Speaking during an advocacy and lobby workshop organised by Masvingo Residents and Rate Payers Association (Murra) last weekend, the lawmakers said they were in agreement with the residents.

“We agree with your position to the installation of water meters to residents,” said Zanu PF Gutu  East MP, Berita Chikwama.

“As legislators in the local government portfolio committee in Parliament, we feel this system is not applicable to our citizens who are struggling. The system will not only violate residents’ constitutional rights but will also deprive them of a basic necessity.”

Chikwama, who is also Zanu PF deputy chief whip, urged Murra to bring its campaign to Parliament for debate. Chikwama said besides potential violation of the new Zimbabwe Constitution, the system would be costly to the city council.

Responding to a research presentation by the national residents association, Chikwama said city council should stop implementing a system that is expected to gobble up huge amounts of its money.

She also expressed concern over the brunt that women would face as a result of the system.

Ronald Muderedzwa, Buhera Central Zanu PF MP, said the city council was rushing to implement a new system without fully understanding its pros and cons.

“These are systems which cannot be applicable to our situation in the country,” he said. “We are currently facing economic challenges and we have some poor residents who might not be able to prepay water. Water is a basic need that is supposed to be available always and we cannot afford not to have it because someone has no money to buy it, we need to pay for water and the current situation is good for our people.”

Muderedzwa said the issue of prepaid water meters was an urgent issue.

“These are issues that need urgent debate in Parliament and as residents’ associations, you should have brought this to our attention way back as the relevant committee,” Muderedzwa said.

“However, you need to bring it as soon as possible and we will support your campaign as parliamentarians because this issue is a constitutional one.”

Residents associations had convened the meeting to lobby the legislators to support their “No to prepaid water campaign.”

The associations are already on a war path with several city councils in the country that have announced plans to install prepaid water meters.

Some of the councils include, Harare, Bulawayo, Rusape, Chipinge, Gweru and Masvingo.

Comments (7)

Water is a basic human right. Well done legislators in that parliamentary portfolio committee for recognising this fact. Somebody who was given an inflated tender to supply the pre-paid water meters will have to claim back their kick back money or just take it on the chin.

Galore 123 - 27 May 2015

while water is a human right, the residents have an obligation to pay for the water that they use. if they cant pay for their water, how do they expect it to be supplied to them on the basic human right basis. these same politicians directed councils to write off debt. the same people expect the government (zpf)to do the same again that is, write off debt. the only way to make people for their water is to go the ZETDC, ECONET, NET 1 and telecel, Medical aid, etc...that is pay before you use. All those who cant afford to pay forb their water must go back to the rural areas and rescucitate our dead agriculture in the form of labour....i support prepaid water meters because i pay for my water. yes councils abuse the money through hefty packages for their officials...that another issue but people must pay for their water. if prepaying is the way to make them pay, so be it. these politicians never encourage their so called supporters to pay for their water yet they claim it to be a basic human right.

water is life - 28 May 2015

@ Water is life - you are correct in that people have to pay for the water they use, however you dont enforce the failure to pay by denying them their basic human right. Thats just not how civilised countries operate. All the other things you are conflating with like mobile phones, medical aid etc those are not a basic rights, yes they make life more comfortable but you can do well without...i put it to you that people had no access or need for those things until some odd 15-20yrs ago. Water and air on the other hand...people have needed those since life began. If you deny them access to water, what happens when you get cholera outbreaks etc, do you ask them to also fund treatment for the whole community affected? Those with immovable and movable assets, the water company can seek redress through legal channels e.g. baillifs and court orders and those who genuinely cant pay certain arrangements made for them.

Galore 123 - 28 May 2015

The issue is someone has to take responsibility for the cost of treating water as well as mantaining the water distribution infrastructure. The solution is not in making empty statements yet the bulk of the citizens are resorting to unprotected sources as the water supply infrastructure continues to deteriorate....the fact that its buried underground doesnt mean it will last forever, . Let there be cllarity on how sustainable water supplies can be guaranteed ,else this right will remain a pipe dream for most of the citizens

Guest - 28 May 2015

The issue is someone has to take responsibility for the cost of treating water as well as mantaining the water distribution infrastructure. The solution is not in making empty statements yet the bulk of the citizens are resorting to unprotected sources as the water supply infrastructure continues to deteriorate....the fact that its buried underground doesnt mean it will last forever, . Let there be cllarity on how sustainable water supplies can be guaranteed ,else this right will remain a pipe dream for most of the citizens

Guest - 28 May 2015

if communication ,electricity we pay before we use why cant we do the same with water?i understand all the above are also basic as much as water.Countrymen we shouldnt just make noise for the sake of noisemaking and disassociate ourselves from modern realities .city life is for who can manage if you cant manage relocate to where you are capable our country is big enough to accommodate us all regarding our social and economic status.

carson macate - 30 May 2015

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