By Vanessa Nyathi
Harare-Residents of Warren Park 1 are sitting on a health time bomb as sewages continue to flow into their homes due to unrepaired burst sewer pipes.
Harare City Council (HCC) has been blamed for its reluctance to fix the burst pipes despite numerous reports that have been made about the persistent sewer bursts
Most of the burst sewer problems are due to the ever growing population with the system failing to cope with inhabitants of over 100 000.
The situation has been exacerbated by uncollected refuse which is piling up at every street corner.
In an interview with this publication, one resident, Kudzaishe Makufa bemoaned lack of will by HCC to fulfil its duties despite residents paying their rates.
“The council officials are taking too long to attend to burst sewer pipes as they are coming days or even weeks after we have made reports at the local district offices. Under normal circumstances we would have expected them not to take more than a day considering health risks that are posed with raw sewage,” he said.
A council employee who spoke to this reporter on condition of anonymity blamed the finance department for not prioritizing service delivery whilst superiors are pocketing hefty packages and salaries.
“The refuse collection trucks and those cars we use to service burst sewer pipes are always broken and we also don’t get enough fuel allocation to effectively attend to all the reported cases. The finance department is always complaining that their budgets are shrinking but we often here of huge figures in wages and salaries mainly going to the bosses and the councilors,” he said.
Combined Harare Residents Association (CHIRA) Warren Park Chairperson, Mr Douglas Matanda said there was lack of engagement and cooperation from the local authority.
“We have on countless times tried to engage with the district office on issues of burst sewer pipes as well as uncollected refuse but we have been met with an unwelcoming hand.
“They always turn our invitations for dialogue insisting that they are doing the best they can do with the available resources but it is not satisfactory,” he said.
The risk of another cholera outbreak in Warren Park is high as these burst sewer pipes are contaminating alternative sources of water such as wells and boreholes.
HCC acting Corporate Communications Manager, Innocent Ruwende however said they were working on the issue of repairing the pipes.
“The city council has ongoing upgrading and pipe replacement programmes planned for affected areas, Warren Park included,” he said.
According to the Community Water Alliance, a civil society organisation that deals with water governance, the amount of sewer pipes bursts in Warren Park has increased to the levels recorded during the cholera epidemic in 2018.