Monday, 15 June 2015

High Court orders city council to stop water cuts

The High Court has ordered Gweru City Council to stop disconnecting water supplies to residents over unpaid bills.

The court order followed an urgent application by Gweru resident Lizzie Zvenyika and 24 others who through their lawyer, Reginald Chidawanyika, argued that disconnection of water supplies was unconstitutional.

Chidawanyika in papers filed before High Court judge Justice Martin Makonese in case HC1434/15 argued that Gweru City Council was legally bound in terms of section 44 of the Constitution to provide water to all city residents.

“The respondent (Gweru City) is constitutionally bound as a State institution or a local authority to respect fundamental human rights enshrined in section 44 of the Constitution,” reads part of the application.

Chidawanyika said the disconnections were being carried out without a court order.

“The respondent cannot resort to self-help even assuming that indeed the applicants are owing her.

“The disconnection of water, a constitutionally guaranteed right, is an act of self-help,” reads part of the appeal.
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Justice Makonese ordered Gweru to restore water supplies to all applicants within 24 hours and also ordered the local authority not to tamper with their water meters until the matter is finalized.

“That respondent and all its employees or agents be and are hereby interdicted from interfering whatsoever with, disrupting or terminating applicants‘ water supplies without the authority of a court order issued by a court of competent jurisdiction,” reads part of the judgment. - NEWSDAY