Press Release - Residents to March Against Prepaid Water Meters Again

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Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA)

Press Release

Date:               12 November 2014
Contact:         Emmanuel Ndlovu
                        Advocacy and Programmes Manager

Residents to March Against Prepaid Water Meters Again

Bulawayo residents, led by Civic Society Organisations (CSOs) in Bulawayo will on Friday 14 November 2014 take to the streets protesting against the Bulawayo City Council’s (BCC’s) move to introduce prepaid water meters in the city as the Right to Water Campaign continues. The peaceful march shall be carried out in the Central Business District from 10am, beginning at ‘Egodini’ Terminus and proceeding to the Large City Hall where a petition will be handed over to local authority officials.
BCC intends to pilot test prepaid water meters in Cowdray Park’s Hlalani Kuhle area before rolling them out 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), Victory Siyanqoba, Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, PTUZ,, Christian Legal Society amongst others.

In June, the CSOs successfully held a march in Cowdray Park, with over 500 residents taking to the streets calling on BCC to rescind its decision to install prepaid water meters. Based on 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. It is the organisations’ contention that similar problems would be faced in Bulawayo if the local authority goes ahead with its plans to install the gadgets. Prepaid water meters also lead 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. It also seeks to raise awareness on the issue of prepaid water meters and begin a sustained debate on it so that the views of residents are heard.



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