Housing cooperatives that have been operating in Caledonia residential estate have been ordered by the Harare City Council to stop parcelling out land and cooperate in the eviction of people they had allocated land.
By Phyllis Mbanje
Many desperate home-seekers had bought land which was meant for schools, clinics and business purposes.
The council has taken over the management of Caledonia following a directive from the government.
Spokesperson for council, Michael Chideme said on Thursday they had initiated the rolling out of systems to ensure an orderly settlement.
“Council has dispatched a team of data capturers from the Corporate Services and Housing Department who will visit each household to collect relevant data,” he said.
The information collected will be used to put the properties on the council valuation roll, determine the number of schools, crèches, shopping centres and recreational facilities to be provided.
Chideme also said there were some individuals who had been resisting the takeover by council by removing pegs and disrupting the erection of a council sub office.
“These have been advised to present themselves to the police for disrupting a lawful process,” he said.
All cooperatives have been asked to open new accounts with CBZ that would be professionally managed by the bank to ensure that members’ subscriptions directly go to service provision.
Earlier last week council chamber secretary Josephine Ncube announced the takeover which was prompted by findings of a recent audit which unearthed massive corruption by housing co-operatives and land barons who were selling stands in the area.
“We were given a directive by the government to take over Caledonia. We want to ensure that there is regular registration of stands and replanning so that residents can stay legitimately,” she said.
According to findings by a committee led by planning specialist Percy Toriro which was set up by Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo, over 200 housing cooperatives were operating illegally in that area which they had partitioned into 23 000 housing stands.
Chombo clamped down on the barons and warned that any official from government who would be found on the wrong side of the law would be dealt with accordingly.
He gave a directive to the police to arrest illegal land barons.