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SRWB accused of corruption, overbilling

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Southern Region Water Board (SRWB) Board chairperson John Kapito has expressed the need to reassess the purpose for which the utility water supplier was established in order to find means to address challenges consumers are facing.

Kapito also challenged the Board’s employees to get rid of corruption when dealing with new connections and billing, saying provision of water to Malawians should not be an option for bargain as is the case now.

He was speaking in Balaka on Tuesday during a Kalondolondo District Interface Programme on water service delivery implemented by Chinansi Foundation with funding from UKaid.

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The SRWB chairperson said considering the results of the Kalondolondo programme, it is clear that people are not satisfied with the way SRWB is providing water services and this requires immediate redress to win people’s trust in areas of billing and new connections.

Responding to a query by an official from Balaka Secondary School, who complained that every month the school pays over K900, 000 regardless of the availability of students at the school, Kapito said his institution is aware of similar complaints and that actions were already being taken to address the problem.

“We are aware that in some instances bills are just recurred because meter readers do not take new readings every month to update bills. This is unacceptable and we request our consumers to come forward with information that can help us identify meter readers that are involved in the malpractice,” he said.

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Kapito further acknowledged that SRWB employees deliberately delay to connect new customers in order to entice them to offer some bribes to facilitate quick connections.

“Why should someone wait for over four years instead of 60 days to be connected to water supply like it has been testified during this meeting? This has to stop immediately. Water is life and we cannot continue playing with people’s lives,” said Kapito.

Chinansi Foundation Executive Director Simplex Chithyola said his organisation was happy with the overall assessment and the meeting because it gave water users a platform to interact with service providers and map the way forward.

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