City fathers worried water crisis could scare away investors

Bulawayo city fathers have resolved to embark on alternative ways of improving the water situation in the city in a bid to boost investor confidence. 

The issue came up at the recent full council meeting as the councillors deliberated on the city’s future water security.

Ward 7 Cllr Shadreck Sibanda suggested that the city adopts a system which was used by the City of Cape Town in 2018 when it was on the verge of running dry.

The South African government launched the ‘Day Zero’ campaign as it raised awareness on the need to conserve water before taps ran completely dry.

The campaign caused a drop in tourism bookings, and raised the spectre of civil unrest within the city. 

“As you may recall, a few years ago Cape Town was in a similar situation as we are. They created a mantra of Day Zero campaign. As the city we also need a campaigning strategy to raise awareness to the effect that we have a water crisis. Through PR can we have a mantra and preach it throughout the world so that we may get assistance,” suggested Cllr Sibanda. 

He noted that it is futile for the council to take its begging bowl to the government whose coffers were also running dry.

Cllr Sibanda said reaching out to external funding partners could unlock financial resources for the local authority which would enable the city to secure alternative water sources.

Ward 19 Cllr Alderman Clayton Zana objected noting that while it is important to publicise the city`s dire water situation, the move might scare away much-sought investors.

Ald Zana said, Bulawayo, over the years has suffered water shortages but the city has never run completely dry so the council must remain optimistic.

“We need to make sure that we do not shoot ourselves in the foot. If we publicise this crisis we risk scaring away potential investors. We need to weigh our options in a strategic manner. At least let us focus on silently seeking alternative sources of acquiring water. For many years, we have been in this predicament but we have always pulled through. We have never gone totally dry,” said Ald Zana.

“If we compare ourselves to the capital city we should consider ourselves very lucky. Harare does not have water, and the little they have is not even clean. Although we have a serious crisis, the little that we have is quite clean and safe for people to drink.”

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