CHIREDZI - Chiredzi Residents and Ratepayers Association (CHRRA) has petitioned Chiredzi Town Council (CTC) to suspend town engineer Wesley Kauma over what they claim to be his grossly incompetent handling of the water crisis in the town.
CHRRA has written to council asking for Kauma’s dismissal, saying the deteriorating water situation in the town was largely a result of his making.
The residents organisation’s letter – addressed to council chairperson, town secretary and councillors – attacks Kauma for the people’s failure to get optimum services with regards to availability of water.
CHRRA argues that the town has suffered a lot due to water shortages and calls for the suspension of the town engineer with full benefits pending investigations into the water crisis.
"CHRRA is writing to you and your office requesting the suspension of town engineer Mr W. Kauma pending investigations with full benefits because of the following reasons on water crisis in Chiredzi.
"1. All 8 wards are affected by the unavailability of precious liquid. Residents are suffering a lot and are putting their lives at risk when they scavenge for the precious resource. 2. Vulnerable groups like women, the elderly and the girl child are suffering a lot and are putting their lives at risk of being raped, robbed and abused. 3. Children are being made to stand in queues for more than 3-4 hours to access water at boreholes in these high temperatures.
"4. No water in ministries and institutions serving the public. 5. The engineer is failing to come up with solutions to water challenges in Chiredzi. 6. The outbreak of water-borne diseases is highly likely die to the flow of raw sewage. 7. Tempering with water connections, e.g. a connection done at the water tanks from a water works’ direct line. No feedback on the power connection by Hippo Valley following our stakeholders meeting," reads part of the grievances.
"CHRRA is kindly proposing that investigation of the water crisis be done by a consultant and if the engineer is cleared, he resumes his duties and if he is found incompetent, he resigns," the letter reads
Tongaat Huletts, through Hippo Valley Estates connected its electricity cable at the water works which later failed to pump water during power cuts as it requires a transformer.
When contacted for comment, Kauma defended his record arguing that he was doing his best to maintain optimum service delivery in the town.
He attacked the resident organisation for allegedly failing to follow protocol in expressing their grievances.
“Maybe the letter didn’t follow procedure because residents go through councillors, so if they direct it to me, it will be of no purpose as I am also a resident outside of work. Whenever there are political elections, council management is the battleground, especially the engineer. It’s unfortunate that people think that getting someone fired from his job gives mileage with the electorate.He accused the residents’ organisation of calling him disparaging names which made them open to ridicule.
“Imagine a leader of a resident association calling me chikwambo (goblin). Who then will take such people with reckless talk serious? Do we leave behind a water infrastructure constructed in the 60s by the Smith regime and expect it to function for eternity or we start somewhere, put new water works. That one from 1964 is old; the water pipes, asbestos pipes are outdated, they have carcinogenic risks,” said Kauma.