Blessings Chidakwa Municipal Correspondent
Government yesterday released $37,4 million, including foreign currency, towards interventions to improve water access and waste water treatment in Harare. The move comes as a relief to residents as the corruption-riddled MDC-led Harare Municipality struggles to provide clean water.
The funds from Government are earmarked for the completion of Morton Jaffray Water Treatment Plant, overhaul of the water distribution network, sewer reticulation system upgrade and installation of 8 000 residential prepaid meters.
Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube said it was important for Government to intervene given the deteriorating sanitation situation in Harare.
“City of Harare is facing a number of challenges which have resulted in failure to resolve the water and sanitation under-provision within the city. This has contributed to the decline in the health status for residents,” said Prof Ncube.
“The challenges include absence of a billing system and, hence, poor collection (of) rates as well as reduced capacity to implement programmes that enhance service delivery.
“To ameliorate the situation, central Government has now intervened by releasing $37,4 million from Treasury, including foreign currency towards interventions that will seek to improve water access and waste water treatment in the short term . . .”
Minister Ncube said on water production Harare was facing a challenge of insufficient water production with Treasury availing $791 000.
“$495 000 targeted at rehabilitation of Morton Jaffray clarifiers within two months and $296 000 for filters (three months),” he said.
Minister Ncube said on water distribution Harare was having high water losses and has set aside over $20 million.
“$20 050 000 targeted for 10 kilometres pipe replacement (six months), $4 710 000 for installation of 8 000 domestic household metres (four months) and $10 400 000 repair of burst pipes (one month),” he said.
On waste water collection, Minister Ncube said Harare was battling frequent sewer chokes prompting Government to avail $890 000 for the upgrading of 8 000 sewer mains in Glenview and Budiriro suburbs.
The two high density suburbs were the most hit hard during the recent cholera and typhoid outbreaks that claimed lives and left many hospitalised.
Minister Ncube said Harare on sewer treatment there was a challenge of pollution of water sources.
“$300 000 for repair of Firle sewage work (six months) and $220 000 for repair of Crowborough sewage works (two months),” he said.
The Morton Jaffray project which was set to be a game changer for Harare stalled after the funders China withdrew its $72 million fund from the $144 million Harare Water and Sanitation Rehabilitation Facility from China-Exim Bank citing abuse of funds by council officials.
China was said to be unhappy with the abuse of funds in Harare where money was said to have been diverted to non-core purposes.
President Mnangagwa intervened following the stalling of the draw-downs from the fund due to corruption, but there appears to be no more funds from China despite the Government’s intervention.