Chegutu rot: No water for 8yrs, staff unpaid

via Chegutu rot: No water for 8yrs, staff unpaid 16/03/2014 by Tinotenda Mutsvanga NewZimbabwe

AMBUYA Joyce Mariga, 64, painstakingly pushes her battered wheelbarrow she has just loaded with six tins of water, along a dusty, partly tarmacked road that leads to her home.

Heavy drips of sweat trickle down her wrinkled face as she narrates how she has to endure what has turned out a daily ordeal in the small farming town of Chegutu, where perennial water shortages are the order of the day, with elderly residents the worst affected.

“We are now used to this kind of lifestyle – every day. What puzzles me is that the town has been receiving adequate rainfall but it’s only our residential area that has no tapped water yet we pay monthly water charges to council,” she said.

Such testimony is one of many that are echoed by other less fortunate residents in Chegutu’s Pfupajena high-density suburb were residents have not been receiving any running water supplies at their homes for the past eight years.

What dismays the residents of Ward 8 and Ward 9 is that they continue to receive monthly water bills.

Residents pay an average of $10 monthly for water and other related charges but say they have no option but to pay since they dread the council’s debt collectors and municipal police who are notorious for confiscating assets of defaulters.

“This is really unfair. The council bills us and they say we receive water yet there hasn’t been any. We have tried to raise our concerns with the authorities but nothing has materialised. If we don’t pay up, the council employs debt collectors and scores of residents have lost their assets,” said Roselyn Sakala.

According to the Chegutu Residents Association (CRA) head Misheck Kazembe, there are about 400 households in Wards 8 and 9 – which translate to about $4,000 that is collected from the residents monthly.

“There are about 400 households in Ward 8 and Ward 9 and they are all paying a monthly water charge of $10, yet they are not receiving any water. This is actually robbery and we are now in the process of mobilising residents to resist paying the bills,” said Kazembe.

So critical is the water situation that women and children spend much of their prime time at the two worn-out boreholes in the two Wards.

It has emerged that the council management has been awarding itself huge salaries and other benefits while services continue to deteriorate.

According to a salary schedule that was shown to this reporter, the Town Clerk takes home an average of $8000 per month including allowances. Together with his top management, they also receive brand new vehicles annually which they can buy at cheaper prices after every three years.

Despite all this, the council still owes workers millions of dollars in outstanding salaries

One council employee who spoke on condition of anonymity said that the council owes them salary arrears dating back to 2013.

“The council owes us salaries dating back to 2013 and we don’t know when we are going to get our outstanding salaries,” he said.

Efforts to get a comment from the Town Clerk, Alexio Mandigo were fruitless since he was always said to be busy and ignored phone calls.

When reached for comment, Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo said he was not aware of the problems.

“I haven’t heard about the issue but will look into the issue soon,” he said.

Most of the council’s water pipes were laid during the colonial era and have not been replaced.

Last year, the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) tried to finance the replacement of the worn out pipes but the project was shelved after some Zanu PF members demanded that all prospective employees should have a letter requesting employment written by a Chief.

In 2008, the town was also hit hard by a cholera outbreak that killed about 1,000 people and residents are still anxious over a possible return of the deadly bacterial infection.



  • comment-avatar
    Chidumbu 10 years ago

    This is what happens when a nation is so spineless that they can’t even tackle a 90 year old man

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    Mlimo 10 years ago

    The answer is go back to the bush

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    John Thomas 10 years ago

    This is surely painful to those involved, but it has its comedic aspect. The town clerk can’t be found. Most likely he spends his time on his private affairs. The minister will look into it. What does anybody rate the chances on this. The crowning glory is that the donor who was prepared to fix the pipes at no cost was chased away. This is all beautiful. Such a perfect precision of dysfunctionalism is an achievement in its own right. Uncle Robert you must be a very proud man. You have shown that wicked Ian Smith how wrong he was when he foolishly claimed you were not capable of running this country.

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      Sekuru Mapenga 10 years ago

      A perfect description of Zimbabwe; a work of art in dysfunction. No wonder the town clerk gets such a huge salary.

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      Parangeta 10 years ago

      How right, Chegutu (Hartley) used to be the epicenter of cotton weaving, ginning and cotton exportation. The limestone mines supplied Rhodesia-Zimbabwe with all it’s lime fertilizer and we exported the surplus.

      Now it has no water for an old man, or elephants!!!!! Well done mugarbage……

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    Doris 10 years ago

    I believe that there are some high fallutin’ people who have grabbed properties in Chegutu. Those are the ones who should be approached to help the people of “their area”. Ooops, hang on – I think they must be the “cellfone” farmers. Sorry!!

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    What do you expect from the leadership which waste money installing a traffic light across the main highway and a dusty side road?Their mentality is beyond common sense and wisdom.
    Its not surprising that we have the waste road blocks outside Chegutu.The people who stay there are all under stress that they take it out to the innocent people passing through that poor town.When I passed there I experienced these people’s frustration which is easy to pick up, as you talk to the officers manning the road blocks.It makes them not to think logically thus making funny punitive decisions to the public.

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    Being a resident of this filthy hell hole (Chegutu) I can vouch that this is the “arm pit or exhaust pipe” of Zimbabwe. Leave your ivory tower Ignatius Chombo and come and see for yourself what you and your evil regime have managed to destroy; to what was once a thriving small country town – but there again you and your ilk are to busy stuffing your snouts in the trough trying to gobble up the last remains, to be bothered to lift your greedy heads and see the damage you lot have done.