Original Research

Commercialisation of water supply in Zimbabwe and its effects on the poor: A working framework

Tinashe Mukonavanhu, Damian Ukwandu, Danielle Nel-Sanders
Africa’s Public Service Delivery & Performance Review | Vol 9, No 1 | a536 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/apsdpr.v9i1.536 | © 2021 Tinashe Mukonavanhu, Damian Ukwandu, Danielle Nel-Sanders | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 24 February 2021 | Published: 19 July 2021

About the author(s)

Tinashe Mukonavanhu, School of Public Management, Governance and Public Policy, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Damian Ukwandu, School of Public Management, Governance and Public Policy, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Danielle Nel-Sanders, School of Public Management, Governance and Public Policy, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Neoliberalism favours the existence of free markets with limited government interference as the best way to conduct business. A feasibility study is necessary regarding the practicality of the application of neoliberalist policies in Zimbabwe’s water sector. This is important because there has been a lack of water in urban and rural areas of Zimbabwe even before the COVID-19 era.

Aim: The objective of this study was to investigate the feasibility of the commercialisation of water in Zimbabwe.

Setting: The formation of the state-owned Zimbabwe National Water Authority signified a move towards the solidification of the commercialisation of the water sector in Zimbabwe, based in part on neoliberal principles.

Methods: This study is a conceptual study, involving the review of various sources of literature to identify trends in the commercialisation of Zimbabwe’s water sector. This study is descriptive in nature and involves the use of secondary data gathered from various publications. This study also makes use of a case study approach.

Results: The findings of this study show that the commercialisation of the water sector in Zimbabwe is practical to a certain extent; however, it needs to be performed in a way that acknowledges existing strengths and weaknesses with continuous monitoring and evaluation taking place.

Conclusion: While commercialisation is a necessary tool to incentivising economic water usage and generate revenue, there is a need to ensure that those who cannot afford to pay for water in Zimbabwe are safeguarded in order to guarantee their access to basic water, which is their human right.


Keywords

neoliberalism; commercialisation; water; government; Zimbabwe.

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