The 57th edition of the five day Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) ended on a high note last week with a significant number of people touring the ZINWA stand.
Although business was low on the first days, the number of people who visited the ZINWA stand swelled especially during public days. It was a hive of activity as people from all walks of life thronged the stand to make enquiries, register their complaints and share with us their opinions.
Held from 26 to 30 April 2016 in Bulawayo- a strategic industrial hub in the country, the Fair ran under the theme; innovate-integrate-industrialise.
The ZITF provided a networking platform where the Authority had the opportunity to experience the old but still effective person-to-person interaction not only with water users but also with other stakeholders in the water sector.
Suffice to say, the ZINWA stand served as a one-stop shop where almost all the information pertaining to the water sector was sufficiently available.
Interestingly, regardless of the harsh economic environment currently obtaining, it was heartening to see a reasonable number of organisations, especially those who specialises in production and supply of water treatment chemicals, protective clothing, pipes and such other fittings, showing sincere interest in establishing contact and building business partnerships with ZINWA.
However, despite the fact that ZINWA plays a critical role in the national economic transformation agenda, the Authority remains one of the most misunderstood organisations and efforts are being made to sensitise the public about issues relevant to water management in Zimbabwe.
The water permit/agreement system, the relationship between ZINWA and local authorities, the link between ZINWA and Catchment/Sub-Catchment Councils, water conservation as well as regulations governing groundwater utilisation in Zimbabwe are some of the topical issues that most water users need to be educated on.
Sibusiswe Sithole of house number 451 Njube, Bulawayo commented: “I didn’t know that ZINWA sells raw water to our councils who then have to purify it. No blame on ZINWA!”
As is always the case, while the majority of visitors appreciated ZINWA’s efforts to guarantee water security, there were also a considerable number of people who expressed displeasure with ZINWA, citing lack of constant interaction between the Authority and its stakeholders, especially those in marginalised communities.
One such person, a farmer from Mvuma who only identified himself as Shepard wrote: “ZINWA is a very critical organisation in this country but you are not as visible and proactive as you should be. You do not engage with people especially those in the farms and other so-called marginalised areas.”
A number of high profile dignitaries among them minister of Environment, Water and Climate, Honourable Oppah Muchinguri, permanent secretary in the ministry, Mr Prince Mupazviriho, directors in the ministry Mr Tinayeshe Mutazo and Ms Maveneke, ZINWA board chairperson Dr Michael Tumbare and CEO, Dr Jefta Sakupwanya, toured the stand.