Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
REDCLIFF residents have demanded the resignation of Mayor Councillor Freddy Kapuya accusing him and council leadership of failing to solve a four-month water shortage in the town.
The residents mainly from Rutendo high density suburb handed over the petition signed by over 100 residents to Clr Kapuya at the town house last Thursday.
In their petition, residents said the mayor and councillors should resign for failing to provide them with water thereby exposing them to water borne diseases.
“We want the mayor, councillors and management to resign, we want water, water is a human right,” reads part of the petition.
One of the residents, Mr Mike Marimo said management and councillors had failed in service delivery.
“Some are paying water bills and other rates but the local authority has failed to deliver services. We have been without running water for the past four months and now Rutendo is inhabitable and we could see a massive disease outbreak if we do not act,” he said.
Clr Kapuya addressed the petitioners and told them that there was a need for dialogue to find a way forward. He said poor service delivery and failure by the local authority to provide water especially in Rutendo was because of non-payment of water and rates by residents.
“Demonstrations won’t achieve anything because our problem is centred on non-payment of water and rates by the residents. Pay your bills instead and service delivery will be improved,” he said.
In an interview, Clr Kapuya said from an expected revenue of about $600 000 monthly, his council was only collecting $30 000.
He said council was, therefore, failing to pay its water bill with Kwekwe City Council, which has run up to $2 million.
“We now owe Kwekwe City Council $2 million for water supplies and our residents are failing to pay their bills so we have been disconnected. The residents owe council about $8million in unpaid water and rates bills. If they pay up we will be able to settle the Kwekwe debt. As long as residents especially those in Rutendo fail to pay their water bills, our hands as the local authority will remain tied and the situation will not get better,” said Clr Kapuya.
Kwekwe mayor Clr Matenda Madzoke said they were facing challenges in pumping water to Redcliff because of a broken down water pump.
“Yes we resolved to pump water to Redcliff but we are having challenges. We are working on fixing the water pump so that they receive water. At the same time, Zinwa last week restricted our water supplies because we owe them $1, 2 million. So we are pumping less,” he said.
Residents from suburbs such as Redcliff low density suburb did not sign the petition since they reached an agreement to pay at least $20 a month to council towards settling outstanding bills.