GWERU: The stench of odour still hovers around the air in the area connecting Mkoba 4, Vungu Ward 19 and Chiundura Ward 18 amid the council’s recent move to finally address sewer burst challenges in the area.
The smell often attracts flies from the illegal dumping areas, also sunk in puddles of the sewer.
It is an irritation Asibu Msasa had lived with for close to a year.
“This place had become a burden to us as residents. Waking up to sewer pools and bad smell has not been easy,” he said.
Msasa, like many others, is celebrating the council’s long-awaited response to attend to the health hazard situation.
“Council now clearing this mess is, therefore, a sigh of relief for us. We were worried that we could contract diseases now and the fear was made worse knowing Gweru was at one-time typhoid and cholera hot spot. We are seeing the work and we applaud the council for that, initiative” he added.
Also affected was a business proprietor, Nomsa Ngwenya who operates the popular Matende Bar in the area.
“COVID was a hit on businesses, but the sewer burst and the non-serviced road had also become a pandemic to my operations. I was forced to close as clientele shunned driving to my place of business over fears of getting stuck in sewer dams,” she said.
Suffering losses, was, however, not a choice as Ngwenya says she had gotten exhausted from being tossed in-between offices by authorities as she sought solutions.
“I once approached the City of Gweru before being referred to Vungu RDC. The same happened when I got to Vungu as I was referred back to the City of Gweru. I was chasing my shadow in the process,” she added.
Matters of service delivery in boundary areas have often caused problems in many cities with councils scapegoating and throwing responsibility at each other.
In similar cases, areas in new locations are paying for services to City Councils, while they reside under RDC catchment areas. When problems arise, residents are often left stuck between a rock and a hard place as City Councils often argue that they do not service areas outside their jurisdiction while RDCs argue that services should be catered for by people receiving service delivery payments.
Residents argue that solutions to such problems lie in the delimitation process for which government seems to be well behind schedule.
Nevertheless, environmental hazards in the area remain an issue to be addressed as it was revealed that the sewer pools were a creation of sand poachers who frequented the road using trucks to dodge authorities at night.
City of Gweru Communications and Public Relations Officer, Vimbai Chingwaramuse, however, says they are always ready to repair burst sewers even though people are late to report such cases.
“After the issue was reported, the action was taken. Some of these challenges are actually beyond our vicinity and as the council, we urge residents to swiftly report such cases. ,” said Chingwaramuse.
The City of Gweru has also been visibly doing developmental work, with street lights being the latest development.
Council has also collaborated with Gweru Resident’s Forum to develop an application, G-City App, to facilitate a real-time interface between residents and the local authority towards reporting faults and making other related inquiries.