Monday, April 22, 2013

Harare runs out of water chemicals
Sunday, 21 April 2013 00:00
Charlotte Musarurwa

Harare is fast running out of water treatment chemicals and this has seen most parts of the city going without water for the last two weeks.

The crippling shortage is said to have followed the suspension of deliveries by the Harare City Council’s only supplier, MT & N, following discoveries that the company had erroneously delivered a poisonous chemical, sodium cyanide, to the city’s Morton Jaffray Waterworks. Town House is believed to be making frantic efforts to secure alternative suppliers. Harare City Council procurement committee acting chairperson Clr Victor Chifodya last week confirmed the shortage, adding that the local authority was compiling a strategy report on procuring adequate chemicals.

“The situation is that the supplier who had won the tender to supply the water treatment chemicals was implicated in the supply of poison to Morton Jaffray (Waterworks).

“The supplier has, however, since stopped supplying the chemicals, but the challenge now is getting people with the capacity to meet demand.

“We are working on a report to finalise the chemical issue as well as the way forward. We have some chemicals in stock, but these may not stretch over a long time because they are not enough,” he said.

Clr Chifodya added that the other challenge faced by council was that most suppliers were demanding cash upfront.

“We have tried to engage Zimphos, but they are also not in a position to provide the chemicals because they are still owed some money by the city council. Zimphos now wants cash upfront for the chemicals.”

Last year, Harare was on high alert after the water treatment chemicals supplier reportedly delivered sodium cyanide to Morton Jaffray Waterworks. Although the company’s employees were taken to court, they were later acquitted after it was found that the delivery of the poison was an error. Contacted for comment, Water Resources Development and Management Minister Mr Samuel Sipepa Nkomo professed ignorance on the alleged shortage. The minister said he had been told by Town House authorities that the recent water shortages were as a result of pipe bursts.

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