Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
Beitbridge municipality needs to provide basic service before allocating stands in new suburbs so at least the roads are passable and there is the basic sewer and water reticulation in place, Beitbridge East MP, Cde Albert Nguluvhe, has advised.
He said allowing residents to build and occupy unserviced land was untenable.
The legislator said it was important for the town planners to refocus the management of sewer and water reticulation line with the town’s transformation into a medium city.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Zanu PF campaign roadshow on Tuesday, Cde Nguluvhe said the availability of water would enhance the effective functioning of light and heavy industries.
The area has an estimated population of 70 000 living in over 15 000 properties, and has been growing rapidly in the last 10 years since it was upgraded into a town in 2006 and recently promoted to a municipality.
In addition, the town requires an average of 18 megalitres of water daily for domestic and economic activities.
“As you can see service delivery is low in our town. The previous councillors and those who were recalled have failed to deliver. In fact, they have nothing to offer,” said Cde Nguluvhe.
“Currently, the town is expanding without the necessary services including roads, water, and sewer first put in place.
“My plea to the local authority is that let’s stop this system of settling people on unserviced land. This will create a lot of chaos”.
He said water woes had perennially dogged the town, but the Government had intervened to resolve the issues between the Beitbridge Municipality and the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa).
The two entities have been involved in a battle to control the management of water, and many times the rift affected the constant supply of water. The local authority owes Zinwa close to $300 million in a legacy debt accruing from 2013, and this had forced the parastatal to cut supplies to the town by installing bulky prepaid water meters.
Under the new arrangement, Zinwa will de-activate its prepaid meters pending the full take-over of the water management by the local authority soon.
“Under the stewardship of President Mnangagwa, our Government has been able to deliver people-centred services nationwide.
“So far, we have managed to resolve the water crisis in Beitbridge. But at the same time I urge those owing the council (including Government departments) to service their bills to enhance sustainability,” said the legislator.
Currently, the town has over 3000 properties in the newly built areas, where residents have to sink their own boreholes and use septic tanks.
Those that are not financially sound have to buy water sold in bowsers and tanks.
A bucket of treated water is sold for between R5 and R7, while borehole water sells for R3.
Bulk raw water from mainly the Limpopo and boreholes is sold at R100 for 100 litres.
In 2019, the Beitbridge municipality attempted to evict over 100 residents that had occupied unserviced housing land in the Kwalu suburb (formerly SDP Housing).
This followed concern from the Environmental Management Agency (EMA).
The property owners were later allowed to continue to occupy their houses on condition they made use of septic tanks pending connection to the main sewer system.