Bulawayo residents say they are at grave risk of contracting deadly diseases such as cholera and typhoid, unless the government urgently bails out their city council to replace its decrepit sewer and water infrastructure.
This comes as virtually all local authorities in the country are grappling with similarly antiquated sewer and water reticulation equipment, which requires hundreds of millions of dollars to replace.
It also comes after Harare was last year hit by a deadly cholera outbreak which left dozens of people dead and many others hospitalised, after much of the drinking water in the capital was contaminated by bacteria from raw sewerage in high density suburbs.
Bulawayo Progressive Residents’ Association (Bupra) coordinator Emmanuel Ndlovu told the Daily News yesterday that the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) had been crippled by acute shortages of foreign currency to service its infrastructure — which meant that it required urgent help from the central government.
“Central government should come in to rescue … what is happening now is just a symptom of the worst that is yet to come in the near future, unless something is done urgently.
“While we accept that the council is trying its best in light of the prevailing foreign currency shortages, serious challenges have been noted in the areas of refuse collection and burst sewer pipes.
“It has been noted that the infrastructure is dilapidated, and there is need to totally remove the old piping and replace it with new infrastructure.
“The council budget … has no allocation for investment in infrastructure … all that we see is maintenance works, repairing and re-painting,” Ndlovu told the Daily News.