Harare seeks to salvage waterworks

Source: Harare seeks to salvage waterworks | The Herald June 4, 2019

Harare seeks to salvage waterworksMinister of State for Harare Provincial Affairs Oliver Chidawu (left) is taken through routine procedures in the main control room at Lake Chivero by senior operator Mr Joseph Mukora (third right) during a tour yesterday. — (Picture by Kudakwashe Hunda)

Joseph Madzimure Senior Reporter
Harare City Council says it will now finish its water reticulation works — initially funded by a Chinese loan — through its own resources, with a fifth of the works at Morton Jaffray still to go.

There appears to be no more funds from China despite the Government’s intervention, with President Mnangagwa recently revealing that he had done a lot to convince his Chinese counterpart, President Xi Xinping, to influence Beijing to release funds for the remainder of the project.

China is said to be unhappy with the abuse of funds in Harare where money is said to have been diverted to non-core purposes.

Council was supposed to get the remaining $72 million from the $144 million Harare Water and Sanitation Rehabilitation Facility from China-Exim Bank after President Mnangagwa intervened following the stalling of the draw-downs from the fund due to corruption.

Yesterday, Harare City Council acting director waterworks Engineer Phakamile Moyo said 80 percent of the refurbishment has been completed.

“We are now working to complete the remainder of the refurbishment exercise using our own resources, while waiting for the last disbursement of US$72 million from the Chinese grant to complete the project which have been scheduled for December 2017,” he said.

Morton Jaffray Treatment Works, which has a capacity to supply 750 megalitres a day, is currently pumping 350 to 380 megalitres against a requirement of more than 1 200 megalitres a day.

“Our challenge is that we are not producing enough clean water for our customers. Our demand is 1 200 megalitres a day. We face demand supply disparity. We have an ongoing refurbishment exercise at the waterworks plant,” said Eng Moyo.

Chinese funders, according to the President, had withheld the funds citing that council had not used the money for the intended purpose.

The Head of State revealed this during a special Independence Day interview with ZBC at State House in April, saying he pleaded with his Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jinping, to release the outstanding amount.

President Mnangagwa said former officials who abused the $144 million loan facility were going to be punished.

The city entered into a US$144,4 million loan agreement with the Export and Import Bank of China for China National Machinery and Equipment Import and Export Corporation to refurbish Harare’s water and related infrastructure.

The project covered Morton Jaffray and Prince Edward water treatment plants, and Firle and Crowborough sewage treatment plants.

Former Harare town clerk Dr Tendai Mahachi and former mayor Mr Muchadeyi Masunda signed the deal with China National Machinery and Equipment Import and Export Corporation general manager Mr Yang Yinan in 2010.

Mr Michael Chideme, the City of Harare spokesperson, yesterday insisted that the discontinuation of the facility lay on Government which guaranteed the loan.

Speaking soon after the familiarisation tour of Morton Jeffrey water treatment plant, Crowborough and Firle sewage water works, Minister of State for Harare Metropolitan province, Cde Oliver Chidau said that the water situation in Harare need urgent attention.

“The situation is dire. It need urgent attention. As you can see 80 percent of raw sewage is flowing into the lake.

“We need to manage the authorities as a ministry so that people will get the best from the council” he said.

He also called for the need to treat water for human consumption.

“Water coming out of the pumps is very dirty and it needs supplementary treatment forces.

The minister added that all of the water supply services which are available are dirty and not fit for human consumption.

He said that there is need to put politics aside and focus on development.

“We have to unite and work together to achieve the best for our residents. It is not only the role of the Government.

“We might set up an advisory board which might be announced any time soon to give confidence and ensure the city is run properly,” said minister Chidau.

He called for the need to re-design the city to turn it into world class city status.

He warned illegal settlers to move from council properties.

“Those who have resettled themselves on council properties should move before they are evicted.

We want order in Harare. Some people have resettled themselves at Crowborough and Firle sewage water works. We want those people to vacate the council premises,” he said.

The new dispensation is working on restoring order to ensure Harare achieve its sunshine city status.