The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has cut off water supplies to illegal settlers at Ngozi Mine dumpsite, a situation that is likely to further compound their health.
The dumpsite has become home to hundreds of illegal settlers who live in squalid conditions and are exposed to severe weather conditions and are vulnerable to disease outbreaks.
According to the latest council minutes, the local authority disconnected water supplies to the dumpsite which the settlers used to access for their daily use.
“Discussion ensued and Councillor E. Rafamoyo enquired about the Ngozi Mine water supply which Council used to allow access to the illegal settlers and scavengers for drinking purposes. Apparently this provision was no longer in place,” read part of the Future water supplies and water action committee report.
“However, Council officers at the site had access to tap water, which was previously open to squatters”.
In the discussion, Councillor Norman Hlabani felt that Ngozi Mine dwellers should be allowed access to the water on humanitarian grounds.
“In response the Acting Director of Engineering Service advised that the matter would be looked into. The Assistant Director of Health Services (Environmental Health) indicated that he would investigate the matter as he was not aware that provision for water had stopped,” the report read.
“The Chamber Secretary advised that the matter would be investigated even though the Council was not encouraging illegal settlement in the area. A solution would be found to balance all factors involved in provision of water to illegal settlement. She agreed that scavengers who collected material from the dumpsite for the recycling had to be considered too”.
According to section 77 of the constitution, every citizen has the right to access safe, clean and potable water.