Michael Magoronga, Midlands Correspondent
Kwekwe City Council has cut off water supplies to Redcliff Municipality over an $80 million debt.
Redcliff Mayor, Councillor Clayton Masiyatsva confirmed the development.
The mayor said they were failing to pay the debt as residents were not settling their bills.
“As you are aware, most people in Redcliff relied on Ziscosteel for a living. Now that the company is not operational, the residents are not paying their dues to council leaving our coffers depleted.
The debt has been accumulating for a period of time and I can confirm that we do not have potable water in the town, which is a crisis,” said Clr Masiyatsva.
He said Midlands Provincial Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Senator Larry Mavima called for a meeting between the two local authorities to try and reach common ground.
“We held a meeting with Hon Minister Mavima which was very successful and developmental.
He asked us as Redcliff to provide him with a detailed report on our budget performance, specifically on water and how we intend to settle the $80 million debt,” said Clr Masiyatsva.
The minister also asked Redcliff to come up with ways of recovering debts from ratepayers.
Minster Mavima, according to Clr Masiyatsva directed Kwekwe City to justify their cost build-up with regards to their water tariff.
Redcliff has been paying about $900 000 per month to Kwekwe according to their payment plan, an amount which the latter says is not enough to purchase water chemicals.
Acting Kwekwe Town Clerk, Engineer John Mhike said although Redcliff has been honouring its payment plan, the money was a drop in the ocean.
“The situation has been difficult for us as a city as we had to suppress expenditure on other services as we had to purchase water treatment chemicals. Of course, they have been honouring their payment plan but it is insignificant,” said Eng Mhike.
Redcliff consumes about 16 percent of Kwekwe’s water.
“At the end of the day, it becomes difficult for us to deliver proper services to our residents as we have to channel all the money to purchase water chemicals,” he said.
Eng Mhike said they are waiting for a proposal from Redcliff to map a way forward.
“It’s not a situation that we smile upon that our colleagues do not have running water, but these circumstances are beyond our control,” he said.
Redcliff is looking for partners to construct a water treatment plant that will be treating raw water drawn from Kwekwe before distributing it to residents.