by Fiona Mpofu
The City council’s failure to stick to the advertised water rationing timetable is threatening women’s abilities to plan and effectively implement their reproductive roles. This was said by women at a recently held town hall meeting hosted by Habakkuk trust at the Bulawayo small City hall.
The Bulawayo City council initially released a 48hr water rationing schedule but later increased times to 72 and 96 hours respectively. However, despite the scheduling, residents complained that water would at times be gone longer, not return as expected or not go at all as scheduled making the planning of their roles around the timetable very difficult they said.
“The issue of water affects many people especially women. It is the women that have to fetch water, it is the women that have to look for alternative sources of water, therefore they have the greatest burdens in terms of water shortages,” said the Habakkuk CEO Mr Dumisani Nkomo.
Siphumuzile Ntombi a Bulawayo resident said: “njengabomama yithi esidinga amanzi, yithi esiphekayo, yithi esiklinayo we are like custodians of amanzi endlini so nxa amanzi engekho you need to go out there uyesokola udinga amanzi uphinde ubuye lawo endlini uphinde ubone ukuthi asebenze ngendlela efaneleyo ngoba nxa ungekho abantwana basebenzisa kubi amanzi vele (we as the women are the ones that look for water, we are the ones that cook, we clean, we are like custodians of water in the house, so when there is no water you have to go out there and struggle looking for alternative sources of water and we also have to monitor its usage as children may waste it).”
she added, “Iproblem ekhona yikuthi amanzi ahamba itime table ingalandelelwa. Nga itimetable iyalandelwa ngabe lathi sikwazi ukuhlela inhlelo zethu zendlini uyabe ukwazi ukuthi ngizawatsha nini, ngizatshaya ithorough cleaning nini, ngoba khathesi okunye awusakwenzi ngenxa yokuthi amanzi aphongukuhamba haphazardly (The problem we have is that the water rationing timetable is not followed, but if at all the schedule was followed it would allow us to plan, you will be knowing when to do the laundry, when to do spring cleaning because as it is we can’t do anything as the rationing is haphazard),” said Siphumuzile Ntombi.
Speaking to Amakhosikazi Media, women disapproved of the Town engineer Mr Dube’s suggestion of introducing water meters in the City.
Moreen Lunga highlighted that she once visited South Africa and got the experience of water meters and she says for them to be introduced in Zimbabwe will be unbearable as the recharging process caught her unaware after using the toilet and all of a sudden she ran out of water as she wanted to flash.
Madade Ndlovu added: “asithi thina amanzi akuphelele endleleni njengomama, uzafuna ukusebenzisa amanzi, uyazi umama uyangena kumonthly period amanzi angangiphelela ngiyenzani, okunye uyabe ufuna ukuwatshela abantwana lokupheka, sikhangelane lohlupho lwamanzi and yet water is a nature from God asonto yokuthi ngingayincitshwa mina. (Let’s say you run out of water as a woman, firstly you menstruate then what do you do without water? Secondly you need to do the kid’s laundry and cook, so we are having water challenges and yet water is a nature from God it’s not something you can deny someone).”
She added that it is amusing to her that the Bulawayo city council is refusing to take responsibility for some water sources laying idle in the city that need to have their water harvested.
“ICity council angazi why ingafuni ukuthatha irresponsibility ngoba lapha engihlala khona kuward 27 kulamaresevoirs ngoba kwakuliplot kwasekusenziwa 700 stands kwafakwa abantu. Kulamawells amathathu, kwahanjwa ePumula Housing office babebesithi it’s got nothing to do with us but kulamanzi that can actually serve the community. (I don’t know why the city council is dodging responsibility for the reservoirs in my area in ward 27, I think it was a plot and then it was transformed to 700 stands with 3 wells, we went to Pumula housing office and they told us that it had nothing to do with them. But these wells have water that can actually serve the community),” said Siphumuzile Ntombi.
She added that near Pumula shops there is another well but the container used to get water is not safe to use. She highlighted that if there was a tap it would be safe and clean water to use
Moreen Lunga suggested that the city council should remove silt from rivers and dams to increase the holding capacity of the dams and that since this was a dry season and a lot of dams are empty they should make time and de-silt.
The meeting had been called to allow for engagement between Women residents in Bulawayo and the city administrators.