HARARE – The informal settlement of Caledonia has become a typical shanty town, lacking proper sanitation, safe water supply, electricity, hygienic streets, or other basic human necessities, civic organisations have said.
With an estimated population of 125 000 but with no standard clinic to cater for the growing number of inhabitants, Caledonia residents are forced to go as far as Mabvuku to access a polyclinic there or to Goromonzi Hospital for health care.
Last week, Centre for Community Development in Zimbabwe (CCDZ), Harare Residents Trust (HRT) and Chitungwiza Residents Trust (Chitrest) conducted a tour of the shanty settlement to assess the state of service delivery.
In a joint report, the three organisations revealed that there is poor sewer reticulation in Caledonia and that residents are still using septic tanks which on average are two metres deep.
“It was also revealed that when septic tanks are full, residents do not drain them but rather dig new ones,” the report reads.
“They do not have flush toilets but use Blair toilets, with septic tanks becoming a breeding ground for mosquitoes and flies; diseases are highly likely to emanate from this situation.
“There is also poor sanitation as residents have resorted to digging unprotected wells as a source for drinking water.”
Caledonians’ alternative source of potable water is Porta Farm, another informal settlement 4km away.
“This mainly affects women as they are forced to carry 20-litre containers of water on the head and a child on her back in search of water for domestic use.
“The residents also highlighted that the ministry of Health is not providing them with chemicals such as chlorine to treat their drinking water.
“The proximity of water wells and septic tanks is a matter of concern and as such the situation in Caledonia is a potential health hazard as outbreak of water-borne diseases such as cholera and typhoid is inevitable.”
It also exposed the city fathers’ failure to collect refuse.
The organisations said contrary to the constitutional stipulations, the councillor for ward 26 does not hold consultative and feedback meetings with residents.
Instead, the report claims, a Zanu PF losing councillor Andrew Nyamakate, is the one who engages residents on development issues as all resources are channelled through him by ruling party-linked council and government officials.
“There is thus the politicisation of development in the area as residents shun the elected opposition MDC councillor, Joseph Rose, for fear of victimisation by the Zanu PF local leadership which facilitated the allocation of stands to all the dwellers in the area.
“The three partners also observed that there is a lot of intimidation in the area as alleged Zanu PF youths continuously spy on their movements, resulting in some intended respondents declining to be associated by the partners. The partners established that residents in the area do not have title deeds for their housing stands and as such are living on the benevolence of the ruling party. As a result, they have to be ‘politically correct’ or they face eviction.”