By Staff Reporter
Tsvingwe high density suburb residents in Penhalonga have dragged the Mutasa Rural District Council (RDC) to court after going without constant water supply for the past six months, Open Council Mutare can report.
A total of nine Tsvingwe residents filed an application at the High Court on February 22 after the local authority in September 2021, stopped providing them with constant and uninterrupted water supply without notice.
The residents are represented by David Tandiri of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR).
Mutasa RDC has 10 days to respond to the file its opposing papers failure of which the application will be dealt with as an unopposed application according to the court papers in possession of Open Council Mutare.
The court application comes at a time when Mutasa RDC is only supplying water to the aggrieved residents twice a week, mostly at night which is inadequate for domestic purposes.
“To ensure that residents of Tsvingwe high density suburb in Penhalonga enjoy their right to safe, clean and potable water, we have filed application at Mutare High Court seeking to compel Mutare Rural District Council to supply adequate, constant clean and potable water to them,” said ZLHR.
The litigation follows community led audits carried out by the Centre for Research and Development (CRD) with Tsvingwe residents last year, which exposed serious service delivery issues chief among them water shortages.
The community audits revealed that the intermittent water supplies were forcing the residents to seek alternative sources of water such Mutare and Tsambe rivers.
However, research by CRD unearthed that the two rivers were being contaminated by mercury and cyanide through rampant unregulated gold mining, which pose a serious health challenge to the community.
Penhalonga gets its water supply from Mutasa RDC and according to Section 77 (a) of the Constitution, the residents have a right to clean, safe and potable water.
It is against this backdrop that through the litigation ZLHR “want the court to declare that the local authority’s (Mutasa RDC) failure to ensure supply of adequate, constant, clean and potable water to be a violation of the resident’s right to clean, safe and potable water as provided for under Section 77(a) of the Constitution.”
The water crisis in Tsvingwe is also affecting educational and health facilities.
“So dire is the situation that the local clinic and some schools have not been spared from the water shortages with students at Tsvingwe Primary and Tsvingwe High School being requested to bring their own water for use at school.
“At the local clinic, expecting mothers and patients are also requested to bring their own water,” said ZLHR.
Tsvingwe argue that the water shortage is exposing the community to diseases.