Leonard Ncube Victoria Falls Reporter
SCORES of businesses operating at Sorpers Arcade in Victoria Falls are sitting on a health time bomb as the building has been without water for three years.
The building is in the Central Business District (CBD) and houses a variety of businesses ranging from electrical, hair salons, furniture shop, a sports bar, boutiques and others.
Water supplies were disconnected in 2012 after a standoff between the businesses and the Victoria Falls Municipality after the local authority sent a bill of $42,000.
The businesses queried how the figure was arrived at and clamoured for individual meters.
Econet Shop, Shearwater, Explorers Sports Bar and a paint shop are among the few that have been reconnected after paying undisclosed amounts to the council.
The majority numbering about 28 units but each with subtenants should be using a bulk water meter and common public toilets but these have not been operating over the years.
Tenants access toilets and fetch water at the Information Centre nearby.
Some of the tenants who spoke to The Chronicle said they were worried about the situation.
“It’s been more than three years since we had water and we have been using toilets from neighbouring buildings and fetch drinking water from the Information Centre. We used to have toilets but they were closed without explanation,” said a tenant in furniture shop.
The businesses wanted to have individual meters because they consume water differently with salons and the bar using more water than others according to the tenants.
A public toilet that was once at Explorers Bar and used collectively was reportedly sealed off. Another toilet detached from the main building was also closed leaving the whole complex with no access to water and toilets.
Representing the tenants, Brayer Kaunda said: “It’s not proper to say the building doesn’t have water because some of them have supplies. The problem is that there is a bulk water meter that needs rerouting from one side to the southern side of the building. There are, however, some internal legalities that need to be followed.”
He said the issue was being looked into but admitted that it had dragged for a long time.
A Patel from Bulawayo used to own the building before ceding half of the shares to some locals.
He acknowledged there was a problem and said he would be visiting the resort town soon to rectify it.
“Water was disconnected because they owe rates and water. There are several units there managed by individuals and we are aware there is a problem with Sorpers because even all toilets were demolished,” he said.
Town Clerk Christopher Dube promised to look into the matter saying no premises were allowed to operate without water.
“Health specifications don’t allow premises to operate without water. We will look into the issue but for now I am away attending a meeting. Can we talk on Monday?” he said.