Govt to intervene in Bulawayo housing stands saga
THE Government will this week meet Bulawayo City Council officials, private developers and aggrieved residents over growing cases of housing stands abandoned by private developers despite residents having paid in full for their servicing.
This comes at a time when the local authority is saying while the burden lay with them to move in and complete the servicing of the stands, funds were a major hindrance. However, council says residents have an option to chip in with further funding, “if they so wish” to ensure their stands get serviced timeously.
Over the past three months, the local authority has clashed with restless beneficiaries demanding that they be allocated their stands since they paid in full in United States dollars. However, council has reasoned that contracted developers reneged on their contracts to service their awarded areas citing lack of funds despite the beneficiaries having paid for the stands in full.
The private developers stopped working after failing to get paid in United States dollars by council at a time when the country was using the local currency rated at par with the US$. Some of the affected areas include Woodville, Emhlangeni, Emganwini and Magwegwe. In areas like Mahatshula North, the private developer did not complete working on the roads, with some of them left without tar.
In an interview with Sunday News on Friday, Bulawayo Metropolitan Provincial Development Coordinator, Mr Paul Nyoni revealed that his office had been made aware of the residents’ grievances and they will be meeting with all the relevant authorities this week to map the way forward.
“We sat with people who bought stands at Emganwini and Magwegwe last week. We will arrange a meeting with the Town Clerk, Mr Christopher Dube, Minister of State for Bulawayo Provincial Affairs, Cde Judith Ncube, property developers and the beneficiaries, where BCC will be given an opportunity to give their official position, after that Government will take it from there, to see how best to handle the issue,” said Mr Nyoni.
Contacted for comment, the Town Clerk, Mr Dube said while they were fully aware that they were in the wrong as the residents had paid in full for the stands, before the amounts were eroded by inflation, it was their wish that they come up with an amicable solution to the matter.
“Right now, from where we stand, we cannot be going to residents to ask them to pay but we would very much appreciate if it becomes their own initiative that they come together as beneficiaries and help fund these projects to ease the burden on council. The truth of the matter is that we have good intentions for all these projects because we do not want the residents to feel prejudiced but we do not have the required money at hand, we are doing the best we can with the little we have,” said Mr Dube.
He said council was aware that the projects have taken too long hence their maintaining of an open-door policy on coming up with the best possible solution to the impasse.
Meanwhile, the Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) last Wednesday held a consultative meeting with residents and council officials to try to reach common ground on the stands’ impasse.
Commenting on the outcome of the meeting, BPRA gender officer, who chaired the meeting, Ms Abigail Siziba said the feeling among residents was that the local authority should prioritise issuing stands to people who bought in previous years before advertising new ones.
“With the problems being experienced with all these areas that were left incomplete we believe in the long run BCC should do away with private contractors, meaning they should just eliminate the middle-man.
“Further, they need to improve engagement with the beneficiaries because as it stands there is a clear breakdown of communication which has resulted in all this tension and mistrust regarding these unserviced areas,” said Ms Siziba.
The local authority recently reported that more than 3 000 stands that were being developed by private developers have been left uncompleted with the local authority forced to take legal action to resolve the impasse.
Some of the projects affected included Emganwini’s 367 stands, Tshabalala (44), Magwegwe West (390), Woodville (144) and Emhlangeni Phase two (502).
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Gokwe Boy (17) Steals Haulage Truck For A 100km ‘Joyride’
An unlicensed 17-year-old boy left the Victoria Falls community gobsmacked after reportedly breaking into a parked 22-tonne haulage truck during the night and drove away.
Petros Nyenyiwe, who is originally from Gokwe, stole the truck on Saturday night and drove it to Kazungula border, close to 100km away and was intercepted by police on his way back to Victoria Falls, leading to his arrest.
A motorist who was driving along the same road on Sunday informed the owner…Learn More