One death and five cholera cases have been recorded at Mont Dor and Karara resettlement areas in Shamva following a portable water disconnection that has gone on for over five weeks.
Due to the water supply disconnection at Shamva Gold Mine by Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) the mine is reportedly temporarily supplying approximately 4000 residents with untreated water drawn from Mazowe River. The mine is said to be discouraging residents for drinking the water.
It is unfortunate that ZINWA engages in retrogressive measures like arbitrary water disconnections, an infringement of the right to safe, clean and portable water.
Community Water Alliance has noted with concern, the use of outdated regulations and water by-laws by state institutions that permit disconnecting water supply. Stakeholders must take into consideration Section 86 of the 2013 Constitution of Zimbabwe which states may be limited only in terms of a law of general application and to the extent that the limitation is fair, reasonable, necessary and justifiable in a democratic society based on openness, justice, human dignity, equality and freedom, taking into account all relevant factors.
The nature of the right to water is such that it is linked to the rights to life and health. The purpose of disconnecting water affects public safety, public health and public interest. With 4000 people at risk in Shamva, ZINWA's water disconnection has gone beyond a reasonable limitation.
ZINWA has the option of issuing summons to recover its debt from Shamva Gold mine. The water disconnection by ZINWA is therefore unfair, unreasonable, unnecessary and unjustifiable in a democratic society. It defies openness, justice, human dignity, equality and freedom of the residents.
Arbitrary water disconnections justify Community Water Alliance’s calls for review of water disconnection by-laws so that they echo provisions of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.