BY NOKUTHABA DLAMINI
Victoria Falls will endure another day without running water on Wednesday as the council will be installing new pumps on the Zambezi River, the city council has said.
Most areas in the city have been experiencing intermittent water cuts since early this month when the local authority switched off supplies for several days to repair the water reticulation infrastructure.
Council on Monday said residents and businesses must brace for water cuts lasting up to 10 hours on Wednesday as it installs the pumps.
“Victoria Falls City Council wishes to inform its residents and stakeholders that new pumps will be installed at the Waterworks Highlift Pump Station,” council said in a statement.
“In light of the installations, there will be an interruption of water services on Wednesday, 18 August 2021, from 0800hrs to 1800hrs.
“The works are part of the council’s efforts to rehabilitate and upgrade its water supply system to provide efficient and uninterrupted services.
“You are, therefore, encouraged to prepare accordingly.”
For the past three weeks, the local authority has been battling to provide adequate water to residents, especially in high density suburbs, after a pump malfunctioned.
Some residents in Chinotimba and Mkhosana’s Garikai and Mfelandawonye areas are being forced to fetch water from the local authority’s main tank in Chinotimba.
Victoria Falls mayor Somvelo Dlamini has blamed the water cuts on aging infrastructure, which he said his council inherited from the Zimbabwe Water Management Authority (Zinwa).
Zinwa ran the city’s water reticulation system until a few months ago.
Dlamini said Zinwa left behind obsolete suction pumps and other equipment, which made it difficult to pump enough raw water from the Zambezi River.
Council won the tussle for control of the water infrastructure a few months ago after the government intervened.
Zinwa recently hiked water charges to $ 4.5 million per month from $1.1 million after losing pumping rights and council officials say the charges are too high as the local authorities must pay other pumping costs like electricity.
Chinese-funded power plant expansion project in Zimbabwe set for commissioning
Chinese firm Sinohydro undertook the project, adding 600 MW to Hwange Thermal Power Station, the country’s largest coal-fired power plant.
The project will be commissioned by President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Thursday.
Zhemu said at a press conference that recent media reports predicting a return to prolonged power cuts after August were false, as Zimbabwe is now guaranteed adequate power supplies in the short-to-medium term.
He said Unit 7 is already feeding into the grid after the successful completion of tests in June and is now commercially available for operation. Unit 8 is also undergoing a similar test and is expected to be available commercially by August or September this year.
“So there is no way that we are going back to the past where we used to experience long hours of load shedding,” Zhemu added.
Five die in Binga traffic accident
BY NOKUTHABA DLAMINI
A Stallion Cruise bus overturned in Binga on Sunday morning killing five passengers on board, police have revealed.
According to witnesses, the bus which was travelling to Bulawayo was reportedly speeding when the accident happened.
National police spokesman Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said the bus overturned and landed on its roof in the Sikalenge area between Siabuwa and Binga centre.
“The ZRP confirms a fatal road traffic accident which occurred on 16/07/23 in the morning near Masumo Bridge, Samende area, Binga in which a Stallion Cruise bus travelling from Siabuwa to Binga overturned,” Nyathi said.
“The ZRP confirms that five people were killed whilst the number of injured is yet to be ascertained.”
The bus reportedly veered off the road at a sharp curve near the Masumu River bridge at around 7AM.
The accident comes barely a week after the same bus caught fire in Mutare on July 11 and all passengers escaped unharmed.
Zimbabwe declares its own load shedding over, but locals are sceptical
Zimbabwe’s government on Tuesday announced a sudden end of blackouts that have crippled businesses and left millions of households without electricity for up to 19 hours a day.
The information ministry said a cabinet meeting had “noted with satisfaction” that the power utility “has announced the end to load shedding as a result of the interventions implemented” by the government.
The statement did not give details of the steps taken to end the load shedding.
The southern African country has for years been reeling under severe power shortages.
They worsened late last year when the main electricity supply, a hydro plant at the giant Kariba Dam in the north, suffered very low water levels caused by recurring droughts.
In March the power utility company said it had launched a new 300MW coal-fired unit with Chinese finance in a bid to ease repeated power outages.
But Zimbabweans greeted the news of the end of outages with scepticism, as some said they were sitting in the dark as the announcement was made.
One Zimbabwean @sammie541 tweeted “funny (be)cause we actually don’t have…(electricity) now”, adding her Harare neighbourhood had been without power since Monday.
Other Zimbabweans questioned on Twitter if the announcement was not strategically timed ahead of national elections due next month.
The country goes to the polls on August 23 to elect a president and legislature.
Eighty-year-old President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who replaced strongman ruler Robert Mugabe in 2017 after a military-led coup, is seeking re-election.
But he faces a disaffected population that is battling hyperinflation, poverty and high unemployment.
Official figures placed inflation at 175.8% in June, up from 86.5% in May, but Johns Hopkins University professor of applied economics Steve Hanke believes real inflation in Zimbabwe is more than 1 000%.
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