Saturday, September 18, 2021

Masvingo City Council investigates water works Supt for incompetence

                                            Charles Gusha

…as council battles to
restore public faith in municipal water
The commission of
enquiry recently set-up by City of Masvingo following a water chemicals supply
debacle is targeted at Bushmead Water Works superintendent Charles Chapanduka
whom the city accuses of recently failing to timeously report that one chemical
was fast running out.
Speaking at a press
conference organised to try and discredit a recent TellZim story on how council
pumped inadequately-treated water, Mayor Collen Maboke sought to exonerate city
engineer Tawanda Gozo and pin all the blame on Chapanduka.
“Actually, it’s the
station superintendent who can be accused of incompetence because he failed to
report the issue on time. He is the one being investigated,” said Maboke.
He said a subordinate
at the water works came and tipped council that there was only two days’ supply
of aluminium sulphate left when normal procedure would have seen Chapanduka
communicating directly with Gozo on the state of chemical supplies.
“Had it not been for
that tip, it could have gone wrong. I discussed it with the town clerk and we
went to Zinwa (Zimbabwe National Water Authority) and borrowed 15 tonnes of the
chemical that we expect to bay back soon. There is an arrangement which allows
Zinwa and the city to lend each other chemicals if there is need. There is
nothing amiss about that,” said Maboke.
He said council awaited
the results of a commission of enquiry which was recently instituted to
investigate the alleged incompetence on the part of Chapanduka so that
appropriate disciplinary procedure could be taken.
TellZim reported last
week that on some occasions from the end of November 2019, council pumped
inadequately-treated water after its stores ran out of aluminium sulphate,
which is one of the key chemicals used in the water purification process.
The publication reported
that the engineering department, which is headed by Gozo, and in which the
water treatment plant falls, was taking the blame for incompetence within its
senior ranks.
Maboke, however, said
disciplinary action will be taken against Chapanduka if he is found to have
failed to execute his duties as per expectations.
He however refused to
categorically state as fact that council had managed to get the supplies from
Zinwa before the two-day period had lapsed.
He instead chose to
stick to his position that council had never pumped insufficiently-treated
water to homes.
He said council
position was that supplies would rather be stopped rather pump
inadequately-treated or raw water.
“We are responsible
city fathers whose actions can never endanger the lives of the residents of the
City of Masvingo and let me make this commitment that we will never supply the
residents with water that does not meet the minimum WHO and SAZ standards for
drinking water.
“We are also going to
further strengthen our water quality monitoring systems by introducing periodic
monitoring visits to the water works by our policy makers,” said Maboke.
He also announced that
council had since organised a media tour of the water works to ensure that
journalists get a ‘clearer’ appreciation of the operations there.

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