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Council Under Scrutiny
Ivan Ndlovu

Gweru residents have expressed disgruntlement over council’s failure to investigate vandalism of the main water pipeline from Gwenoro Dam by farm owners along the water channel.

Residents’ representatives notified city fathers in August that they received reports of vandalism along the pipeline at farms it passed through, where water was illegally diverted for irrigation purposes.

However, the acting director of engineering services, Praymore Mhlanga, rubbished the claims, saying the pipeline was “well monitored” and the farms were “paying for the water they used”.

Gweru Agenda, an advocacy group, mobilised representatives from three residents associations then went on a fact finding mission last week.

The group then found a sevenhectare farm about 42km along Gwenoro road owned by Themba Ndlovu that was undertaking a number of irrigated projects.

Investigations reportedly discovered that the extension into the farm from the pipeline was vandalised and the farmer used water without a water meter.

A man that was on the farm, only identified as Ndlovu, revealed they had never paid the water bill ever since they settled in the farm in 2012 despite having a water meter.

Gweru United Residents’ Association secretary general, Reward Mhuri, said he was astonished how treated water was being misused while some residents went without water in the city.

“Citrus trees and fresh vegetables are being grown on the farm with some hectares of land being tilled for planting potatoes using treated water, while people in Mkoba have no water,” he said.

Mhlanga could not be reached for comment on the latest development, while other department heads said they were not in a position to comment on the issue.

The residents are planning to present a petition to the city fathers this week concerning this and other issues like the budget and transparency of cashflow in the municipality.

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