Residents resist Harare Quarry privatisation

HARARE - Harare residents are not happy with the privatisation of the city’s quarry business, saying the process was only meant to give its directors and executives an opportunity to line their pockets.

Residents, through the Harare Residents Trust (HRT), argued this week that the resolution that gave rise to the privatisation must be reversed.

“It (resolution) was designed for councillors and retired council management to loot the quarry revenue. Other major sources of revenue such as the Harare Sunshine Holdings, which controls City Parking, have to be returned to city treasury,” HRT said.

HRT said council would not continue to depend on residents for sustenance if Harare Quarry was returned to the city’s treasury.

If anything, HRT said the unit would be able to generate revenue that could be used to subsidise ratepayers.

The city fathers believe that privatisation would remodel the business into a money-spinning venture for the capital city.

Harare Quarry, which has been lying dormant for a number of years now, was officially privatised last month.

The unit is responsible for making asphalt and quarry stones used in road maintenance and repairs.

Meanwhile, over 80 percent of Harare’s water pipes have outlived their usefulness and are therefore in urgent need of replacement.

As such, the capital continues to lose revenue and the precious resource through burst water pipes.

In fact, it is estimated that 60 percent of the city’s water is lost due to old infrastructure.

Most of the water pipes have not been replaced for the last 60 years.

According to a report by Dutch firm, Vitens Evides International (VEI), every litre of water lost also means wastage of money spent on chemicals.

“Fifty percent of underground pipes are less than 14 years old while 40 percent of those underground pipes are at the end of their lifespan. Fifty percent of pipes that are not underground are less than 34 years old,” VEI said.

The report also showed that 88 percent of burst pipes occurred on pipes with asbestos cement, seven percent occurred on cast iron pipes while five percent was on PVC pipes.

Harare requires $178 million to fund its water pipe replacement and network rehabilitation to avoid losses due to burst pipes and illegal connections.

Once completed, the refurbishment and pipe replacement would reduce physical water losses by 72 million litres per day, increase supply coverage to 72 000 households, reduce non-revenue water by 25 percent and increase revenue by about $21,6 million per year.

Acting town clerk, Hosea Chisango, said in areas where there was an improvement in water supply, council had introduced pressure reducing valves to make sure that water losses were also limited.

“From the 5 500 kilometres (km) of pipe network if we can deal with between 2 500km and 3 000km then we would have a system that has integrity. What we want is to reduce the losses to 20 percent. After we have done replacement we will require a leak detection system in our network,” Chisango said.

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