Sewer upgrading programme in limbo

Masvingo city council’s $2m sewage upgrading project has suffered a serious setback after the entire workforce of Mutual Construction, a company contracted to do the job, went on indefinite strike.

The workers claim they have not been paid since the project started in July. “We had tried to be patient but it appears our employers are not listening to our concerns,” said one worker. “The best way is for us to stop work until we get what belongs to us.”

Throughout Masvingo city, there are abandoned sewage pipes and the trenches dug by the company, some almost three metres deep, are now full of water due to the latest rains.

Town clerk Adolf Gusha confirmed the industrial action.

“We are just waiting for the release of the first batch of our payments from NSSA,” said a company official as he tried to explain his organisation’s inability to meet the immediate demands of the workers. “Once that has been done, work will resume.”

NSSA was the main financier of the project.

According to the council, Masvingo’s sewage pipes were designed for only 10,000 people, but the city’s population has grown to more than 200,000 inhabitants. There have been incessant bursts and a general failure to cope with the volume of the discharge.

The council expected the upgrading project to end last month.

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