Residents threaten mass protests over poor access to water

BULAWAYO – The month of June has been characterized by an extension of water shedding, insults, accusations, and high mortalities due to water contamination in Luveve suburb, a scenario which has reduced citizens confidence in the Bulawayo City Council (BCC).

Speaking during an edition of the  In Her Own Voice Radio show, Patricia Tshabalala, who is the Provincial Chairperson of Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) cited that if the pending issue is left unresolved, this will propel residents to march in the streets against the Council’s uncouth manner of handling the ongoing water crisis.

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This came amid revelations that nearly 13 residents in Luveve suburb have since passed on due to gastrointestinal disease or typhoid. According to Patricia Tshabalala, Provincial Vice-Chairperson of Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA), residents have been disrespected by the Council and measures ought to be taken.

“A protest is the best way for Council to yield to our concerns as Bulawayo residents,” said Tshabalala. “The route I am proposing can get Council to respect us as rate payers because their role has not sufficed in the manner it should.”

Ndaba Ngoma, a representative from Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) aired his comments during the program citing how the Council has failed to provide clean water for residents.

“All we need is for the Municipality to provide us with clean water so that we can regain the confidence of fetching water right from the tap without the fear of getting sick,” added Ngoma.  “Residents now boil water but the rate of infection is still on the rise, despite these efforts.”

Ngoma implored Council to provide sterilizing tablets considering that few residents are financially stable to purchase them. He cited that such a move would be positively welcomed by residents from Luveve suburb.

Ngoma further stated some of the effects of typhoid.

“There are several adverse effects related to the typhoid illness such as loss of sight, memory loss, inability to walk, and heart failure,” added Ngoma.

Tshabalala cited the need for Council to acknowledge its mistake with the manner they have handled the water crisis in Luveve.

She said the Council should consider coming down to the level of community members and apologise to the public for their negligence.

According to Tshabalala: “As it stands, it is the Council that is at fault for its carelessness in the service provision of water in the City.”

Irene Dube, a resident from Luveve narrated that in her family her children became the worst affected as it led to their admission to hospital for a week.

“My children stayed in the hospital for five days, and as it stands, I have an outstanding hospital fee of $1,500 ZWL that should be cleared,” she added. “When one member of the family recovers you notice that the other then suffers from the disease.”

Tshabalala cited that bereaved families need counseling so that they can heal from the pain of losing members who are so dear to their hearts.

“Families indeed need financial assistance in covering funeral expenses but they too need to heal because the scars that they carry are now emotional ones that are invisible to the naked eye,” added Tshabalala.

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