Govt to bail out local authorities

GOVERNMENT has taken a policy position to assist local authorities to upgrade sewer and water infrastructure as it is dilapidated after outliving its lifespan, a Cabinet Minister has said.

While it is the duty of local authorities to rehabilitate the infrastructure, Government has observed that most of them are struggling to do so.

This has seen President Mnangagwa resolving that Government will capacitate towns and cities in fixing the infrastructure.

Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo said this on Wednesday during the National Assembly’s question and answer session.

He was responding to legislators who wanted to establish what Government was doing to address the problem in most local authorities.

Bulawayo recently experienced a typhoid and dysentery outbreak after effluent leaked in Luveve suburb causing 13 deaths.

Minister Moyo said Government had taken a policy position to assist local authorities in fixing dilapidated infrastructure.

“We think a lot of the local authorities; sewerage and water need a capital injection. That is why the policy that the President has taken is to assist local authorities in the upgrading of water mains as well as sewerage mains. Therefore, we take this responsibility as a shared responsibility between Government and the local authorities but the maintenance of those; even though the construction is also theirs, has to be done by the local authorities,” Minister Moyo.

He said rightfully local authorities should fund the equipping of water and sewer infrastructure through revenues they collect from their clients.

“Most local authorities now have dilapidated and unworkable sewer systems and the Government is intending to make sure that we re-capitalise those sewer systems. It can no longer just be maintenance because the breakdowns are so frequent and the lack of maintenance by some of the councils have also exacerbated the situation that we are in,” he said.

“We have reached a point whereby in most of our analysis, we send consulting engineers outside the engineers of those local authorities that there is now need for injection of capital expenditure in order to revive those sewer systems especially the main lines.

“Thereafter, we hope that the rates and sewerage charges that the local authorities will be charging to the beneficiaries will enable them to have enough money to give maintenance for those.” —

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