Members of Parliament (MPs) have called upon the government to rehabilitate dysfunctional boreholes in Matabeleland, some of which were drilled during the colonial era, in order to alleviate water changes faced by the region.
Owing to poor rains received in Matabeleland compared with other parts of the country, the region suffers annual water woes.
“What is government policy on rehabilitating boreholes that were dug and equipped in the 1940s and 1950s?” asked Tsholotsho North MP, Sibangumuzi Khumalo, in the August House Wednesday.
“The boreholes seemingly are now getting out of use; the breakdowns are so numerous that perhaps I think they need complete rehabilitation and overhaul. Where I come from the boreholes are just not being serviced. If I may just make it open; I hail from Tsholotsho North. We have a serious problem of water in that area.”
Another legislator, Anele Ndebele for Magwegwe, said the government had failed to deliver on its promise of four boreholes per constituency to the previous 8th Parliament.
“Hon. Speaker Sir, in the life of the 8th Parliament, we were promised by the same Ministry (Agriculture) that they will drill four boreholes in each constituency,” lamented Ndebele.
“Could I kindly check with the Minister if this is still in the pipeline? He has indicated that the drilling of boreholes is a low hanging fruit, is he able to provide timelines as to when we are going to get those four boreholes per constituency?”
Earlier on Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement, Vangelis Haritatos had said rehabilitation of boreholes was a low hanging fruit for the government as it does not involve drilling of new ones.
“Yes, I need clarity if one member of this House got four boreholes already, what is the criterion of prioritisation because I come from the driest part of the country and it will beat any manner of sensible thinking why we were not put up first,” said Ndebele.
Haritatos in his response said similar issues have been raised to his office.
“I will make the undertaking rather to ensure that we do prioritise certainly the southern regions of our country which are very dry and need greater amount of support, and that is certainly what our ministry will do,” he said.