Matabeleland South proportional representation Member of Parliament (MP), Sipho Mokone, has expressed concern over the delays by responsible authorities in transferring a water treatment plant from the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) to Gwanda Municipality.
Speaking in Parliament Wednesday Mokone asked the responsible Minister when the plant would finally be handed over to the municipality.
“My question is directed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement, Anxious Masuka,” said Mokone.
“Can he inform the House what is delaying the transfer of the water plant from ZINWA to Gwanda Municipality despite promises in 2021 that this will be expeditiously done?”
In response, Masuka said discussions on the matter between, ZINWA and Gwanda Municipality, were ongoing at a very advanced stage.
“The Minister of Local Government and Public Works and myself, two weeks ago met to review progress in the hand-over of this water plant,” said Masuka.
“I am expecting that once the outstanding issues have been resolved, the water plant will be handed over to the municipality. I have tabled the guidelines the for hand-over of water and sanitation services infrastructure from ZINWA to local authorities so that they go through and they can share with the local authority and assist them to expedite the process because it is in the interest of the local authority to run the affairs,” explained Min Masuka.
He went on to explain the purpose of the transfer.
“These guidelines shall be used solely for the purpose of handover/takeover of water supply and sanitation infrastructure and operations and the maintenance thereof, from ZINWA to local authorities, presided over by the ministries responsible for water and local Government,” he said.
However, what has also delayed the handover is the huge debt owed to ZINWA by the local authority.
The local authority owes ZINWA ZWL$ 270.5 million and according to sources at the municipality and ZINWA, they will be required to pay $18 million a month to clear their legacy debt and purchase bulk water.
ZINWA was established through an Act of Parliament [Chapter 20:25], of 2000, by the amalgamation of the then Department of Water Development (DWD) and the Regional Water Authority (RWA). ZINWA’s main role is to manage and develop water resources on a sound commercial basis.
This development was underpinned by the commercialisation of functions of DWD and RWA, coupled with the transfer of assets and personnel to the new entity.
ZINWA is also mandated to provide portable water supply services to local authorities and government institutions that are not yet in a position to take on this responsibility.
This is in line with one of ZINWA’s functions which stipulate that “the Authority shall encourage and assist local authorities in the discharge of their functions under the Rural District Councils Act [Chapter 29:13] and the Urban Councils Act [Chapter 29:15] with regard to the development and management of water resources in areas under their jurisdiction and in particular, the provision of potable water and the disposal of wastewater.