Following a series of constructive engagements involving Gwanda Municipality, Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA), Gwanda Residents Association and numerous CSOs initiated by Women’s Institute for Leadership Development (WILD), prospects of ZINWA ceding water management duties to Gwanda Municipality are becoming a reality.
By Mpumelelo Madhlakela and Duduzile Mathema
In the beginning of 2017 government yielded to calls from Gwanda citizens, WILD and other stakeholders to transfer water management from ZINWA to Gwanda Municipality in order to improve efficiency in water service delivery. A 7 member water commission was set up and is currently in Gwanda meeting relevant stakeholders to determine Gwanda Municipality’s capacity to manage water management in the mining town. Gwanda Mayor, Councillor Knowledge Ndlovu confirmed the developments and indicated that the final report will be issued out by the commission on Friday, the 23rd of June 2017.
“The Commission is currently here and we are optimistic that their findings will come out in our favour, we will keep our fingers crossed until the exercise is completed,” he said.
Despite the bureaucratic procedures, June 21 2017 will forever be a day that the Gwanda community will treasure and cherish as (ZINWA) finally handed over the water administration to Gwanda Town Council. This follows a significant number of measures which the residents had taken to push ZINWA out of the mining town.
“Maybe things will improve because as it is we are encountering water cuts yet our bills haven’t changed at all. Since last week Tuesday, the availability of water is slowly improving,” said Sibonile, a resident from Gwanda’s Ward four.
She added that she is optimistic that the billing system will eventually come to an end. This month alone, her water bill statement showed that her water consumption was at 35 kilolitres, yet she spent a better part of the month without water.
Mary, a resident from Gwanda Ward 7 commented, “The current development is something that I would like to applaud my fellow residents for. We stood as a community until something tangible materialised.”
Siduduzile, a resident from Gwanda’s Ward 5 said, “We are very happy about the water development and we believe they will be notable changes here and there, especially in the billing system. I have been able to avail myself in all the three stakeholder meetings up to the final day when the commission arrived.”
However, some reports indicate that the commission is sceptical about Gwanda Municipality’s capacity to effectively manage water reticulation. Honourable Nomathemba Ndlovu indicated that there were unconfirmed reports pointing to the commission scepticism on the capacity of the local authority. “There are reports doing rounds about the capacity of Gwanda council to manage water reticulation. I will give a comprehensive comment after meeting the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee receives feedback from the water commission that was sent to Gwanda,” she said.
Over the past couple of months, Gwanda residents have embarked on street marches, drafted petitions and convened countless residents meetings to try and deal with the calamity ZINWA was inflicting upon them. WILD is proud to be part of history that is currently unfolding in Gwanda, with continual constructive engagement between citizenry and duty bearers, Gwanda is poised for growth.
Women in Gwanda appreciate the Social Accountability platforms that the organisation has been facilitating to ensure for improved gender-responsive social service delivery by local authority and public institutions such as ZINWA.