Bulawayo, (New Ziana) – Bulawayo residents expressed fears on Monday that Zimbabwe’s second city could be hit by another outbreak of diarrhoea due to the municipality’s failure to timely attend to sewer blockages.
Speaking at a World Water Day meeting, Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) secretary for water Joseph Nkomazana said there were increasing incidents of sewer blockages in the city.
“Everyday there is a sewer blockage and we no longer know what’s happening. We once lost residents in Luveve to diarrhoea and if these sewer blockages go unattended, we might experience the same problem. All the 29 suburbs are talking about the sewer blockages. Last week I was talking to residents in Makokoba. They are all facing the same problem,” he said.
The BPRA accused the Bulawayo City Council of failing to respond promptly to sewer bursts, thereby exposing residents to health risks.
“We are advised to report challenges at call centres, but no one responds. We cannot go in person to the municipality offices and flock to report service delivery issues,” he said.
Bulawayo senior public relations officer Nesisa Mpofu conceded the municipality had been overwhelmed by the problem. She attributed the sewer blockages to old age.
She said in the majority of cases, the local authority failed to attend to the bursts due to lack of resources or manpower shortages.
“Our challenge is the ageing infrastructure and occasionally we do have problems with input, for instance, these last two-three weeks we had challenges with fuel and we slowed down in terms of our responsiveness… our backlog when it comes to sewer blockages within the city itself is about 185. We get over 50 reports daily which we have to clear,” said Mpofu.