Harare Mayor Councillor Ian Makone has met with residents of Ward 18 to get an appreciation of their concerns while the ratepayers wanted to understand the mayor’s strategy for their ward and the city as a whole.
Peter Tanyanyiwa Suburban Reporter
The meeting was held at Borrowdale District Office with residents from across the ward attending.
Residents were eagerly waiting for such an opportunity since Clr Makone also happens to their representative in council and wanted to understand his strategy and vision for Ward 18 and Harare as a city.
In his address, Clr Makone opened the meeting with an outline of the state and structure of council as well as the processes conducted so far towards making the new council functional. The mayor told the residents that the council committees whose task is to oversee the operations of the municipality, are in place and ready to work. On water, residents said there are areas in the ward that have gone for two decades without municipal water while those that do get water get it intermittently.
Residents said the water crisis is not being given priority and they feel it is because city authorities erroneously take advantage of the high incomes associated with residents of Ward 18.
“The city authorities assume residents in Ward 18 can drill boreholes and buy water.
“Boreholes are not sustainable as they are affecting water tables and are therefore not a solution to the problem. Those selling water are also extracting the water from boreholes and the quality of it is not guaranteed. Some water merchants are alleged to be drawing their merchandise from a source near the Mabvuku sewage works. The shortage of water is blamed on the dilapidated water infrastructure. Old pipes burst when water is pumped leading to loss of raw water,” a top Borrowdale Ratepayers and Residents Association (BRRA) member told the meeting.
Clr Makone said more than US$800 million is required to completely overhaul Harare’s water infrastructure.
A resident, Mr Hubert Nyambuya, suggested some interventions to the water problem that have been implemented successfully in other countries.
The meeting agreed to formulate a Ward 18 water committee and some residents in the meeting offered to be a part of the committee.
Residents requested that sterner action be taken against those invading wetlands, causing environmental degradation and illegal buildings.
The requirement that developments done illegally can be regularised at later stages should be revoked and council must adopt a no-nonsense attitude towards the perpetrators, the meeting heard.
Developments not sanctioned by the local authority should be taken down regardless of the stage of the development. Residents said that without taking such a stance, city by-laws will continue to be a mockery.
The Greystone Park Conservancy is running dry due to construction and borehole drilling in its proximity, the meeting heard. Boreholes belonging to residents are also drying up as a result of developments on wetlands and wanton drilling of boreholes on the wetlands.
Stream bank cultivation is yet another form of environmental degradation prevalent in the ward and is contributing to siltation at Harare’s main water source, Lake Chivero.
Issues that also came up for discussion included the putting up of billboards along Liberation Legacy Way (formerly Borrowdale Road), noise pollution from outdoor churches and places of entertainment as well as vending.
The heavy traffic flow on Liberation Legacy Way is inconveniencing residents on Cosham Way. During peak hours, traffic is diverting through this road to join Harare Drive.
BRRA chairperson Mr Robert Mutyasira commended the commitment by politicians, who won and those who lost in the recently held August 23 hamonised elections, as they came together to find lasting solutions to the problems that Ward 18 is facing at the meeting.
“This meeting is testimony of the commitment by politicians and the community working together in developing their ward. The member of Parliament for Harare East Mr Allan Markham and the ZANU PF candidate in the recently held harmonised elections Cde Angelina Nyatanga actively participated in this meeting,” said Mr Mutyasira.