Insurance firm to refurbish busy Harare CBD toilet

HARARE - An insurance firm has partnered with Harare City Council(HCC) to refurbish a busy toilet in Harare’s Central Business District.

A subsidiary of Zimnat Insurance, Genetic Financial Services (Pvt) Ltd, is rehabilitating the busy toilet at the corner of Leopold Takawira and Bank Street.

Commonly called the “Bata toilet” due to its close proximity to the footwear store, the refurbishment exercise is set to cost $134 021.

The refurbishment comes as many of the city’s toilets have descended into insanitary neglect, leaving residents to use alleyways to relieve themselves.

“Geneinsure (Genetic) obligations would be to refurbish the toilet including the plumbing and urinary system and paint the toilet, construct a pavement and secure the perimeter with a fence.

“They are also obligated to maintain the toilet for 10 years, drill, install and maintain a borehole on site as back-up for water supply and to employ and deploy at its own costs staff to complement council personnel,” read part of the city council’s environmental committee minutes.

As part of the agreement, council would ensure that Geneinsure brand its corporate images and advertise on the toilet for free.

In return the city is obligated to provide cleaning materials and detergents for the toilet to ensure safety and health of both the users and employees.

“Council is also obligated to maintain a constant water supply to the refurbished toilet so as to avoid straining the borehole system which should be used as a back-up when there is a water cut,” the minutes said.

According to HCC spokesperson Michael Chideme, the city has 113 public toilets, distributed through the suburbs and the city centre, with a drive towards increasing them underway.

He said presently 89 toilets are in working order; while 23 are defective and receiving attention with an additional five under construction and at various stages.

“At times some of the toilets are closed because of technical faults, however, once repairs are done they are opened to the public. Council has the responsibility to keep the toilets clean and does routine maintenance of the toilets to ensure they are accessible and available for use by the public,” he said.

Various health organisations and community pressure groups feel council should work more to provide functional ablution facilities in the wake of recurring typhoid and cholera outbreaks in the city.

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