Home » Health » Cholera Fears As Gwanda Council Disconnects Water

HEALTH experts in Matabeleland South province have warned of a possible cholera outbreak that killed 12 people in March after the municipality of Gwanda begun disconnecting water supplies to thousands of defaulters.

The municipality of Gwanda, through a hailer this week, announced it was implementing water disconnections as a last resort after residents ignored earlier pleas to pay up.

Mayor Knowledge Ndlovu, whose municipality owes the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) almost $7 million, said they need money to settle part of the debt.

“We have tried all efforts to make residents pay but no one was forthcoming, we have in the past warned that disconnecting supplies will be our last report,” said Ndlovu.

More than half of the town’s residents will be affected with Ndlovu saying they are owed $7 million by residents.

However a health official at Gwanda Hospital, who spoke on condition of anonymity for professional reasons, said the municipality’s decision could have ripple effects.

“Diarrhoea cases have always been high, especially in those areas that do not have water and now that the water disconnections have started it could lead to an outbreak of cholera and that would be deadly,” he said.

However the council decision to disconnect is unconstitutional last year the High Court ruled that water disconnections were illegal and stopped municipalities countrywide from doing so.

Justice Chinembiri Bhunu aised municipalities to approach the courts before disconnecting supplies to residents.

Ironically, the municipality of Gwanda took Zinwa to court after it disconnected supplies demanding that the local authority settles part of its debt.

Justice Makonese granted a relief order to the municipality of Gwanda, warning Zinwa that disconnecting supplies was unconstitutional.

Source : New Zimbabwe