MASVINGO - Provincial offices of the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education are languishing in the dry after water supplies were disconnected on August 22, 2016 for suspected enormous large sums of money owed to the city council in unpaid water bills, it has been learnt.
The ministry, housed in Wigley House along Josiah Tongogara Avenue, is believed to be one of the worst debit defaulters and has been using water for years without paying for it.
As a result, arrears running into millions of dollars are suspected to have been accrued, thereby compromising the city's efforts to improve service delivery.
Town clerk, Adolf Gusha confirmed the disconnection and promised to continue with the operation in the city.
"This has nothing to do with the Ministry of Education, we are conducting an operation and we will disconnect everyone who owes the city council. We do not have enough chemicals to purify the water and money to pay workers yet some individuals and ministries have not been paying their bills for up to five years. We do not have an option but to disconnect our services.
"Though I am not particularly aware of the Ministry of Education case, I know for certain that the operation targets all those who owe us regardless of their status or profession. We will look into it and see a way forward," said Gusha.
Masvingo Provincial Education Director (PED), Zedius Chitiga, however, criticised the council for disconnecting a government department in the current difficult economic situation.
"This ministry belongs to the government and it is government's responsibility to pay the city council. The bill has been accumulating for some years now and the city council should settle with the government instead of just disconnecting us. We are suffering here.
"I did not have time to talk to them but I have called them today and they promised to come and reconnect. The people who disconnected us do not know the procedure; they should not disconnect government offices without authorisation. The government does not have money at the moment so they should bear with us instead of making us suffer," said Chitiga.
It was not immediately clear if the water had been disconnected by the time of going to print.
A council insider, however, said council was on a drive to disconnect all habitual defaulters who owe millions and will engage debit collectors against them.
Other government entities like the Masvingo General Hospital, Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) and Zimbabwe Prison and Correctional Services (ZPCS) owe in excess of US$30 million in unpaid water bills.news