Harare City Council suspends senior water engineers

Mr Chideme

HARARE City Council has suspended three senior water engineers on allegations of gross indiscipline as it moves to align its service delivery mandate.

Engineers Simon Muserere (waste water), Richard Kunyadini (distribution) and Artwell Ruhukwa (water production) were suspended without benefits.

Chief chemist Mr Teddy Mafuko is part of the suspended group.

Harare City Council corporate communications manager Mr Michael Chideme confirmed the development, saying the engineers and the chemist were suspended for delinquency.

“The four face allegations of misconduct in the performance of their duties,” he said.

“According to letters written to the four, their charges border on incompetency, inefficiency and habitual and substantial neglect of duties arising from inaction on issues relating to their duties.

“They are expected to appear before a hearing within the next 14 days and in the meantime they have been asked to surrender all council equipment in their possession.”

The suspensions come at a time council is failing to provide clean water to the residents because of lack of chemicals to treat the water.

Most parts of the city have gone for decades without a single drop of water coming out of their taps, a situation which has led most people in the high density suburbs to resort to the bush to relieve themselves.

Parts of the Sentosa area in Mabelreign have gone for almost a decade without water flowing from taps.

Residents said they started facing water problems in 2005 when the pumps which supply water in the area were reportedly taken to Bulawayo for repair.

They said since then, water was supplied once or twice a week until 2008 when it stopped flowing until now.

At least 65 homes in the hilly area of Sentosa which encompasses Ruth Close, Trafalgar Road, Jansen Road, Takely Road and some parts of Ridgeview have been affected by this water shortage.

Mabvuku and Tafara residents have spent close to 20 years without water and some residents in those areas are reportedly using the bucket system while others are using nearby bushes to relieve themselves.

In September last year, after council announced a complete shutdown of the Morton Jaffray Water Works plant, Government channelled an additional $42 million to the Harare City Council to enable it to procure water treatment chemicals as part of interim measures to deal with the capital’s water woes.

The funds, which were an addition to the $37,4 million released by Treasury for water infrastructure projects, were hived off the kitty reserved for devolution projects in Harare.

Of the allocation, $32 million was reportedly used to settle the debt owed to Chemplex Corporation, the city’s major supplier of water treatment chemicals, while the remainder was used to replace old pipes.