Thursday, 22 January 2015

City of Kwekwe Ordered by Court to Re-Open Water Supply

In an embarrassing turn of events, the City of Kwekwe, has been ordered by the Kwekwe Magistrates Court in Case Number 93/2015, to re-connect water supply that it had wrongfully and unlawfully disconnected against Mr. Jackie Ngulube, a resident of the City of Kwekwe.

In his affidavit Mr. Ngulube argued that water disconnections are illegal and unconstitutional as has been confirmed in a High Court ruling by Justice Chinembiri Bhunu in respect of Case Number HC 4266/2013 in the matter between Tapiwa Mushoriwa –vs- City of Harare.

Furthermore, Section 77 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe makes it compulsory for every person to enjoy the right to safe, clean and portable water. In this instance, water disconnections are against the law and the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

City of Kwekwe Ordered by Court to Re-Open Water Supply
Mr. Obert Chinhamo, the Programmes Director of the Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa, encouraged all people to take legal action if local authorities continue disconnecting people without following the due process of the law. He appreciated the action taken by Mr. Ngulube and encouraged more residents to emulate the steps that he has taken.

“I would like to believe that the High Court ruling by Justice Chinembiri Bhunu in Case Number HC4266/2013 involving Tapiwa Mushoriwa and City of Harare was well publicised and the City of Kwekwe can not or at all claim ignorance of this case. Water disconnections are inherently illegal, unconstitutional and a violation of human rights. Apart from being illegal and unconstitutional, it is contemptuous, if they are also carried without following the due process of the law. We appreciate the steps taken by Mr. Ngulube and hope that other residents will also do the same to force this local authority to respect the human rights of the people that it claims to serve” he says

Mr. Chinhamo indicated that he was failing to understand why the City of Kwekwe is disconnecting its residents when it does not want itself to be disconnected by ZINWA. ” What also perplexes me is that in 2014 the City of Kwekwe dragged ZINWA to the High Court citing that ZINWA had disconnected it without following the due process of the law. How come the same local authority is disconnecting its residents without following the due process of the law? We are not encouraging people to ignore water bills but the City of Kwekwe should use the law to recover what it is entitled to. I would also like to say that Section 8 of Statutory Instrument 164 of 1913 which local authorities have been relying on for disconnecting water supplies, has been rendered as illegal and unconstitutional. No one should be disconnected of water supplies in Zimbabwe again” he says

Mr. Ngulube was disconnected on the 19th day of January 2015 when he was at work. The City of Kwekwe jumped the wall in order to gain entry. Mr. Ngulube had no water from the 19th to the 22nd day of January 2015. At the time of releasing this statement, the Messenger of Court had gone to the City of Kwekwe to serve the Court Order as well as ensuring that water was restored immediately.

When asked for a comment Mr. Ngulube said painfully that he has been paying for water consumption and does not owe the local authority a single cent. “I have been paying through Ecocash using the biller code provided by the City of Kwekwe and it is not my problem that this local authority is failing to reconcile payments made. I am now being made to suffer because of incompetence on its part which is totally unacceptable. I am contemplating further legal action for damages” he says.

Meanwhile, members of the Kwekwe based Anti-Corruption and Service Delivery Monitoring Voluntary Action Group, have indicated that many residents have been disconnected and efforts are being made to organise these victims for a legal confrontation.
Via City of Kwekwe Ordered by Court to Re-Open Water Supply – The Zimbabwean
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