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No Water, No Power — A Daily Struggle Of A Gwanda Resident

Water challenges continue to haunt Spitzkop North suburb in Gwanda, despite having a five megalitre reservoir.

BY AMANDA NCUBE | @TheCB_News | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | MAY 24, 2022  

The town’s perennial water and electricity crisis is linked to a ballooning population, obsolete infrastructure and underfunding of critical infrastructure to ensure access to the services.

GWANDA (The Citizen Bulletin) — For the past 10 years, Thembekile Sibanda from Spitzkop North Suburb in Gwanda has been living in a house with no electricity.

Some of her neighbours are now using solar power, but with no money to install one, Sibanda has to rely on firewood.

She is not alone in this situation as residents in the area have gone for close to 20 years without electricity.

Continuous engagements with the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) to connect the area to the national grid have been futile.

“Zesa keeps telling us that they cannot connect us because of resource challenges,” Sibanda says.

Sibanda says some residents have started a fundraising initiative to source some of the needed materials like transformers to power the area.

Electricity challenges are not the only problem that residents have to grapple with on a daily basis.

Samantha Dube, a local, says water challenges in her area are a major health threat.

“At first we were not getting water at all because of the gradient. Other areas would receive water but nothing would come out of our taps,” Dube says.

“We were looking forward to the completion of the five megalitre reservoir project as they had promised it would end our problems. Now the project has stalled…”

The reservoir has been completed however, this has not eliminated water challenges due to structural challenges. Image by The Standard

They have to rely on community boreholes which constantly break down.

Gwanda municipality had promised that the water challenges would come to an end with the construction of a five megalitre reservoir in Spitzkop Suburb.

The reservoir has been completed, but locals still get interrupted water supplies because of some structural challenges.

Gwanda Residents Association (GRA) secretary general Wellington Nare says there is a need for residents in all suburbs to have access to social amenities such as water and electricity.

“People are being deprived of their basic rights when they cannot access basic requirements such as water and a reliable source of power.”
Wellington Nare, GRA Secretary General

“Families that can’t purchase solar systems are greatly disadvantaged. It’s also illegal for them to go out in the bush to look for firewood.”

Some stands in the area are not serviced.

Gwanda Town mayor, Njabulo Siziba says the five megalitre reservoir project was being funded by the central government under the Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP).

Siziba says the local council has not been receiving any money under the PSIP, resulting in its failure to attend to some of its faults such as leaks to ensure residents have access to water.

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“The first problem with the five megalitre reservoir project is that its completion was delayed because of unavailability of funds. The contractor left before closing some leakages as they were not being paid,” Siziba says.

Funds permitting, Siziba adds, Gwanda’s woes will be a thing of the past.

“Now the council is mobilising funds to complete the outstanding works. The reservoir has the capacity to supply the whole town with water,” he says.

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