Gweru removes water meters for truant residents
Gweru (The Times-New Ziana) – The Gweru City Council has gone on a blitz to remove water meters on properties that illegally connected to the municipality’s water sources, and those that by-passed official meters.
The blitz, launched recently, carried out 33 disconnections on the first day of the exercise, an indication of widespread illegal water connections in the city.
Gweru City Council spokesperson Vimbai Chingwaramusee confirmed the disconnections. She said council had no option but to disconnect to compel users to follow official channels, and pay for the water.
“Yes, we are removing meters not for defaulting residents but for those residents who are doing self connections or by-passing the meter,” she said.
“We would like to give water to our residents for free but unfortunately that is impossible, so not paying is actually a health threat because it paralyses our water distribution systems.
“Without money, we cannot buy chemicals and other necessities to improve our water system.”
Chingwaramusee said residents who have their meters removed usually respond immediately by paying the necessary fines so that they are reconnected.
“We have never had a case of a resident who has gone for more than a day without their meter being reconnected because many respond swiftly after their meters are removed,” she said.
Chingwaramusee emphasised that only those that had done illegal connections had been targeted and not rates defaulters.
Gweru Residents and Ratepayers Association executive director Cornelius Selipiwe said it was disturbed by council’s decision to remove meters.
“We are not sure whether the removing of meters is legal but the timing is wrong taking into consideration what is happening in the city. We have engaged the mayor and he has said he is not aware, so the question is who passed that resolution?”
Selipiwe said while residents should pay council, removing meters was not the best solution.
“Council has been failing to provide water and some areas have gone for weeks without water but we never demonstrated. They should also have dialogue with residents rather than resorting to disconnections,” he said.
Chingwaramusee said the decision to remove the meters came from council management.
The Times-New Ziana