No water for new suburbs as Bulawayo faces crisis

Bulawayo Councillors (BCC) have turned down the request to connect water and sewerage services to Inhliziyo and Emthunzini townships on the outskirts of the city noting that this will put a strain on the city as it is already facing a water crisis.

This was contained in the recent full council minutes arising from the report of the Environmental Management and Engineering Services Committee. 

“lnhliziyo, Mbundane and Emthunzini Townships were within the City’s boundaries but under Umguza RDC. These Townships were also within the master plan. It was the Council’s mandate to start planning for the City’s expansion. Providing water to these Townships would also increase revenue collection for the city,” read the minutes. 

The Director of Engineering Services Engineer Sikhumbuzo Ncube explained that the Council had a lot of Financial challenges to improve water delivery and this development was coming at the right time to finance some of the required projects.  

“One of the conditions given to the developers of these Townships was to finance water projects that would improve water delivery. The council was very clear in its terms. A bulk meter would be installed in all three townships. Once there was a water crisis in the City the three Townships would be shedded,” he said. 

The Assistant Director of Town Planning also explained that the City’s expansion and development was guided by the master plan. 

“ It would be recalled that Rangemore area was reserved for agricultural land. The three Townships developed were in line with the City’s master plan. Providing services to these Townships was evidence enough to the growth of the City.” read the minutes. 

However, councillor Edwin Ndlovu felt that the report did not have adequate information as such it was not prudent for Council to connect water to the three townships.  

“This request should not be supported,” he said. 

Ward 3 Councillor Mxolisi Mahlangu concurred and said the city has serious water challenges. 

“Some areas in Ward 3 had no water for the past three years. So, adding three Townships to the City’s water delivery system would create more challenges.” 

In addition, Ward 15 Councillor Ashton Mhlanga said Wards 6 and 15 had not had water supplies for a long time. 

“Umguza RDC should supply water to its townships. Connections should only be made once the water restriction by-law has been uplifted.” 

Ward 5 Councilor Octavius Dumisani Nkomo also opposed the connection of water supplies to three townships arguing that the city was failing to supply water to meet the demand.

Meanwhile, Councillor Melisa Mabeza’s view was that the Council should provide enough water to the residents and other stakeholders before connecting the townships. 

In response, the Director of Engineering Services explained that the City had a good masterplan which was approved in 2013. The three (3) Townships had been incorporated to the City’s expansion.  

“The current water situation was an attribute of the climate change conditions. In terms of the City’s forward planning connecting the three Townships would be prudent. The golden condition of connection was to disconnect the supplies to the three townships when Council did not have enough supplies of water to residents.” 

The Town Clerk, Christopher Dube also advised that the Central Government had allocated funds for water supply improvements.  

“The city was mandated to supply water to other nearby stakeholders. Umguza R.D.C was within the Council’s jurisdiction. The three Townships had good infrastructure which the Council could take advantage of. Hopeville had sewer challenges and the developer had agreed to fund Aiselby sewer outfalls 1, 2 and 3,” he said. 

After the debate, a vote was conducted and a majority of the councillors voted against the decision to connect water supplies to the townships.

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