Date: 23 June 2014
Contact: Zibusiso Dube
0776 423 510
Residents to March Against Prepaid Water
Bulawayo residents, led by Civic Society Organisations (CSOs) in Bulawayo under the banner of the Anti-Prepaid Water Meter Campaign will on Friday 27 June 2014 take to the streets protesting against the Bulawayo City Council’s (BCC’s) move to introduce prepaid water meters in the city. The peaceful march shall be carried out in Cowdray Park from 10am at ‘the sign post’ and proceed to the ward’s council offices where a petition will be handed over to local authority officials. The Mayor of Bulawayo, Councillor Martin Moyo shall be requested to be present to receive the petition. BCC intends to pilot test prepaid water meters in Cowdray Park’s Hlalani Kuhle area before rolling out the devices to the rest of the city. Organisations that are participating in the Anti-Prepaid Water Meter Campaign include the Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA), the Public Policy Research Institute of Zimbabwe (PPRIZ), Radio Dialogue, Bulawayo Agenda, the National Youth Development Trust, the Women’s Institute of Leadership Development, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD), Ibhetshu LikaZulu, the Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Enterprises (ZCIEA) and Christian Legal Society. The CSOs are mobilising 1000 residents to participate in the march.
The march follows the successful holding of an awareness campaign by the participating CSOs where sixty-five volunteers conducted a door to door campaign in Cowdray Park’s Hlalani Kuhle area on Saturday 21 June 2014 educating residents on the merits and demerits of prepaid water meters, and conscientising them on the possible effects of introducing the devices. Based on desktop research on what happened after introduction of prepaid water meters in many parts of Africa, the participating organisations’ position is that prepaid water meters are not suitable as a water management system in Zimbabwe. In terms of the research, the gadgets led to an outbreak of cholera in Madlebe in KwaZulu Natal, leading to loss of life, and seriously undermined the right to water in many poor communities. They also led to social disintegration and regression of women’s gains in gender equality. Consultations in Bulawayo have also revealed that most residents are against the move to introduce prepaid water meters. The campaign thus seeks to encourage the city fathers to rescind the decision to introduce the gadgets.
BPRA Information Manager
Posted by BPRA Information Department