Supreme Court allows water disconnections

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Municipalities’ power to disconnect water supplies to non-paying residents is reasonable and does not in any way contravene Section 77 of the country’s Constitution that guarantees the right to clean and potable water, the Supreme Court has ruled.

The court made the ruling in a case in which the Harare City Council was appealing against a High Court judgment granting a provisional order in favour of lawyer, Mr Farai Mushoriwa, who was contesting the disconnection of water at his flat in Harare.

Justice Bharat Patel said the city could terminate water suppliers provided they followed its by-laws.

Harare (Water) By-laws S.164/1913 require that council gives 24 hours’ notice to affected parties before disconnections.

Justice Patel quashed the lower court’s decision that stopped all municipalities countrywide from disconnecting water supplies for defaulting residents without seeking recourse to the courts.

“The provisional order granted by the court a quo be and is hereby set aside,” said Justice Patel, partially allowing Harare City Council’s appeal.