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BY REX MPHISA

BEITBRIDGE residents were yesterday up in arms with the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) and the Lands and Agriculture ministry for failing to supply water to one of the country’s busiest ports of entry.

This was after the border town spent three days without water.

Zinwa last Friday disconnected water supplies to all its debtors nationwide, where Gwanda and Beitbridge were caught up in the blitz.

In a statement, Zinwa said it was owed $2,4 billion by various organisations, mostly government departments.

Beitbridge town owes Zinwa $205 million, while Gwanda town owes $193 million.

Civil servants, politicians, businessmen, shipping agents and transporters at Beitbridge said Zinwa and the Lands and Agriculture ministry should have approached Treasury to pay the water bills.

Residents said they failed to settle their water bills due to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.

Zinwa spokesperson Marjorie Munyonga yesterday said Beitbridge residents should approach their local authority for payment plans.

“Defence and Local Government ministries have settled part of their bills and we have connected sections that suit what they have paid. Government is fully aware of these disconnections because various departments were given money to pay by Treasury but they use it for other items,” Munyonga said.

Yesterday, some Beitbridge residents were forced to use bush toilets after they ran out of water.

Residents, who spoke to NewsDay, said they feared a disease outbreak due to open defecation.

Beitbridge East MP Albert Nguluvhe (Zanu PF) said he was making efforts to engage authorities.

“I am still trying to engage the authorities to clarify that the debt has nothing to do with the 2013 directive to write off bills. Zinwa adhered to that directive. This debt was accumulated after the cancellation of debts in 2013,” Nguluvhe said.

Efforts to get a comment from Lands and Agriculture minister Anxious Masuka were fruitless.

-Newsday

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