HARARE City Council has ordered more than 300 workers to cut short their leave days as city fathers intensify efforts to curb a serious cholera outbreak ravaging the capital and country.
The local authority is under increasing pressure to act on the deadly disease after being accused of aiding and abetting the outbreak by failing to attend to burst sewer and water pipes as well as provide constant water supplies.
Zimbabwe had, by January 2 this year, recorded a cumulative total of 14 885 suspected cholera cases, 67 laboratory confirmed deaths, 266 suspected cholera deaths and 1 676 laboratory confirmed cases.
The outbreak has now spread to nearly all the country’s 64 districts.
In an exclusive interview with NewsDay yesterday, Harare mayor Jacob Mafume said the capital recorded a spike in cholera cases after the festive season
“We have called back more than 300 workers who were on leave so that we can deal with the cholera outbreak and sewer bursts,” said Mafume.
“We are having a spike in cases of cholera because of the festivities and people were travelling from across the country and all over the world. These people were holding parties, enjoying food, while the situation has also been made worse by the floods which contaminated water sources in the city.”
Council is currently stepping up efforts to treat water to households and set up more clinics in cholera hotspots.
“Also because of flooding there have been spikes in the number of sewer bursts which are contaminating our water sources. We have called everyone who has been on leave, increased working hours and approved overtime for them to deal with the current challenges,” he said.
The mayor, who bounced back to town house following the recall of two previous mayors elected in the August 2023 harmonised elections, has since met council workers as the local municipality prepares to embark on a major clean-up campaign across all the city’s shopping centres and markets.
“We have deployed resources for every district office in the city with a budget of US$2 000 to US$5 000 to hire tipper trucks and frontend loaders for them to clear the rubbish, simultaneously, with a view of clearing the dumpsites that have accumulated in the suburbs, and after that we will do the roadside clearances,” he said.