HARARE – Environment, Water and Climate minister Savior Kasukuwere has thrown his weight behind Harare City Council’s pre-paid water meter project saying it is the only way to improve service delivery.
Speaking to the Daily News, Kasukuwere said as long as the project enhances service delivery, his office will back the local authority in implementing the metering project.
“It is time we moved from cheap things and be responsible citizens who don’t compromise our lives, as long as the project improves service delivery, I support it fully,” he said.
Council announced last week that early next year, it is going to launch a pilot project of pre-paid meters in the Avenues before spreading it to other parts of the city centre.
A cross section of Harare residents have reacted with bitterness the proposal to have pre-paid meters saying it is tantamount to commercialising water — which according to international statutes is a human right.
Newly-formed political outfit National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) spokesperson Blessing Vava posted on his Facebook account that the move was undemocratic and against the principle of socialism.
“NCA rejects the publicised intention by the MDC-T run Harare City Council in tandem with the Zanu PF central government to introduce pre-paid water meters in the capital city by the end of the year,” Vava said.
“The introduction of pre-paid meters is not only undemocratic but inimical to the enjoyment of the fundamental right of not only Harare residents but all Zimbabweans to access safe water,” Vava said.
“The real problem is the shortage of water and not the ability of residents to pay nominal charges for water that they utilise.
“What is worrying is that instead of local authorities making sure that water is available, they now seek citizens to pay through the nose for dry taps,” he said.
In his response to the issues raised by NCA and other stakeholders, Kasukuwere said it was impossible for council to provide water without resources; hence he is supporting pre-paid meters.
“We have to balance populism and reality, local authorities need money to function and we need to meet the human rights aspect that is associated with water provision,” he said.
“I will have problems with the idea if it fails to supply water to residents, but if the envisaged outcome is pure water delivery, then people should be proud of it.
“This is the only way to ensure we get what we should get in terms of service delivery,” the minister said.