A serious health hazard is looming at Arda Transau where villagers who were relocated from Chiadzwa by Anjin Investments have been without access to clean water after the Zimbabwe National Water Authority disconnected the company for non-payment.
Over 400 households have been relocated in recent years to make way for mining activities.
Villagers told The Zimbabwean that they had resorted to unprotected sources such as wells and streams. The diamond mining companies pledged to assist the villagers with the provision of clean water, education and food until they are able to sustain themselves.
But villagers said Anjin had reneged on all its promises - especially on the provision of clean water and food rations.
“We have been with water for a long time because Zinwa disconnected us long back owing to non payment of water by Anjin,”said Misheck Mupunzi (33).
“Access to clean water is a basic human right,” said Charity Mwamuka who was pushing a wheelbarrow with a 25-litre bucket of water.
Anjin constructed a water purification centre and handed it over to Zinwa to supply villagers with water while they pay for the service.
The most affected by this crisis are women who are forced to walk long distance in search of water for domestic consumption. “We don’t know whether government knows that we are suffering here. Anjin should honour its pledge to supply clean water,” said another woman who declined to be named.
The Minister of State for Provincial Affairs Manicaland province, Chris Mushohwe, told Vice President Joice Mujuru on her recent tour of Mutare that one of the major problems facing the province was of villagers who had their water supplies disconnected after Anjin failed to service its debt for bulk water to Zinwa. He said a meeting with stakeholders had been scheduled to resolve the matter.
Zinwa public relations officer, Tsungirayi Shoriwa, said he was yet to receive a response from the catchment manager.