By Dumisani Nyoni
Gwanda, August 03, 2016 – JAHUNDA residents in Gwanda are queuing for toilets and water amid claims that the local authority was refusing to fix the problem, arguing it was the residents’ responsibility.
Jahunda is the oldest suburb in the tiny Matabeleland South provincial capital.
Residents revealed this during a community meeting organised by the Women in Leadership Development (WILD), a Non-Governmental Organisation championing women interests, in Gwanda on This week.
Residents said they were living in unhealthy conditions, 36 years after independence with about 30 families sharing a single communal Blair toilet.
They also said families of up to 10 people share single rooms in conditions that residents said exposed them to diseases such as tuberculosis.
“This is not healthy. We are sharing a single dilapidated toilet and people queue all the time to use it. Since it is located some metres away from our houses, anyone including passersby can use it. As such, the toilet is very dirty and not fit for use,” one resident, who identified herself as MaMlilo said.
Another resident, Nontokozo Vuma, said the conditions were unbearable.
“There is no privacy so to say. How can a married couple share a single room with their 18 year old children? This is inhumane and we appeal to the local authority to look into the issue,” Vuma said.
Fainah Sibanda, 71, who has been living in Jahunda for over 14 years, said she tried several times to seek audience with the local authority to no avail.
“I approached the local authority with the view of having the room extended after one builder indicated the room could be extended. However, I was told that I could not because I owe them. They demanded cash up front yet I don’t have it,” Sibanda said.
“Right now I am living alone and struggling to cook for myself. My nieces are refusing to come and stay with me due to poor living conditions here. It pains me a lot,” she added.
After the meeting, Sibanda took the RadioVOP crew to her room it witnessed residents queuing for a toilet. They were also sharing a single tap of water which is situated some few kilometres away.
Residents said the tap was always running out of water, thereby forcing them to travel some few kilometres to fetch water from a borehole located at Red Cross.
Gwanda mayor, Knowledge Ndlovu, said the council could not do anything since the rooms belonged to residents.
“We had started what was called ‘Jahunda Rehabilitation Program’ but abandoned it after the residents had voted for home-ownership. If they want to apply for redevelopment of their houses they can do so and the council will assist. Yes, the situation is unbearable because some are big families,” Ndlovu said.