BLANTYRE (MaraviPost)—The Blantyre Water Board says it is saddened with increased cases of assaults to its employees, mainly Disconnection Officers while on duty.
This follows a recent incident of assault on one of its disconnection drivers, James Matewere while on duty at Zingwangwa Township in Malawi’s commercial capital Blantyre
Matewere is said to have gone to disconnect water supply due to non-payment of water bills in the area.
“As he was doing so at one of the houses occupied by a female tenant, he (Matewere) was locked inside the gate, held captive and threatened with a gun to reverse his decision or else remain in the compound or even shot,” Priscilla Mateyu, BWB spokesperson.
Mateyu observed assaults on BWB employees are on the rise with some threatening the utility’s disconnection drivers with vicious dogs.
“This is just a highlight of what the Board sees as repetitions of a bad precedent that has set in among disgruntled customers who have had their water supply disconnected due to non-payment of water bills,” she said.
She therefore warned that obstructing the Board’s duly authorized official to carry out his duties is an offence under By-law 87 of the Blantyre Waterworks By-laws.
According to her, the By-laws, mainly Section 16(e) of the Waterworks Act No. 17 of 1995, empowers them to disconnect water supply to its customers who default payment.
“The Board must state clearly that anyone caught assaulting a Blantyre Water Board employee while carrying out his or her duties will face tough penalties apart from being sued in a court of law.
“The board will also not hesitate to withdraw its water supply from such premises with immediate effect,” warned Mateyu.
She said to produce safe and portable water for the commercial city, there is a cost attached to it.
“The pumping machines need maintenance and repairs, the water needs to be treated with expensive chemicals and the workers must be paid. All these are made possible from the revenue that the Board collects,” she stressed.