MUTARE- City of Mutare is battling against a US$160 million budget required to fix a faulty water pipeline which is costing the local authority millions of dollars in revenue due to uncontrolled loss of treated water, officials have said.
By Donald Nyarota
Deputy Mayor councilor Kudakwashe Chisango said the city fathers have not found a way around the foreign currency requirements needed to fix the faulty Dangamvura pipeline that is causing leakages of up-to 67 percent.
Chisango’s remarks also come in the wake of Auditor General Mildred Chiri’s 2018 Local Authorities audit report which revealed that Mutare city is only billing 23% of its treated water due to faulty meter connections.
“Mutare is having challenges in securing foreign currency to purchase the pipes which are needed to rehabilitate the water pipeline in Dangamvura.
“So as of now we have found a donor who is willing to assist us in procuring the materials which are now priced at US$160 million.
“It is still a challenge, we are still negotiating and we are flighting tenders to secure contractors, this money was quoted US dollars so that is the primary challenge, we need to secure that foreign currency to ensure that we solve the problem,” said Chisango.
United Mutare Residents and Ratepayers Trust (UMRRT) programs director Edison Dube said the fortunes of residents have been largely impacted by gross mismanagement of resources.
He said water and sanitation challenges bedeviling the city was also exacerbated by the closure of local industries due to economic hardships facing the nation.
“We have to have a contextual background of what we have in our city and as residents’ body we are worried because of the prevailing economic challenges.
“To the best of my knowledge we have challenges in infrastructure with some roads impassable, some need bridges, we have areas which need a total makeover.
“We also have a struggling industry if you drive to Nyakamete (Industrial Park) you will see a city in distress where its people are no longer enjoying the benefits of a once productive hub, we still have a challenge of water and sanitation,” said Dube.
Auditor General Mildred Chiri’s, 2018 report on Local Authorities, revealed that council is financing capital and recurrent expenditure through a $4 000 000 facility and a $1 400 000 loan whose interests are spiraling out of control.
Chiri said Mutare city management’s use of estate funds to finance recurrent expenditure was in contravention of the Urban Councils Act.
She said the council was losing 67% of its treated water and this added to the huge financial burden placed by loan and bank overdraft facilities had a cumulative effect of deteriorating service delivery.