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Council under fire over stands

By Our Correspondent

Hundreds of home-seekers in Harare risk losing out after the city council failed to develop their residential stands despite them paying for the land as far back as 2018.

The home-seekers from Budiriro and St Martins paid $7 000 and $5 000 respectively in 2018.

Council sold 149 residential stands in Budiriro and 224 in St Martins in 2018.

There is suspicion that workers from the planning department who were previously being sub-contracted by housing cooperatives are sabotaging the development of the stands after council’s housing committee in 2018 put in place measures to stop this.

“In October 2018, there was a resolution from the housing committee that council would deal with home-seekers at an individual level even if they are from a particular cooperative. This was done to guard against corruption by housing cooperative bosses,” said a source.

“Officials and workers from the planning department were also corruptly benefiting from the previous arrangement as they would be paid by the cooperative bosses to develop their areas and they would get extra income.

“However, council stopped this through an October 2018 resolution as a way of ensuring that home-seekers are not made to pay extra monies for development of their areas, but this has seemingly not gone down well with workers from the planning department.”

The residents fear that due to the current inflationary environment, they might be made to top up the initial amounts they paid to council.

Council’s housing committee chairperson Hammy Madzingira said he was seized with the matter following numerous concerns raised by residents who paid for the housing stands.

He expressed concern over the apparent resistance by council workers to develop the housing stands despite residents having paid to council.

“As the housing committee, we have since referred this issue to the human resources committee because there is deliberate resistance,” he said.

“It is true that residents paid money for stands in Budiriro and St Martins in 2018 but up to now nothing is happening on the ground.

“We are also considering disciplinary action or another route will be for us to outsource.

“Another challenge now is that the money residents paid is being eroded by inflation and this will come with heavy costs.”

Sources also revealed that despite numerous engagements with the home-seekers, the council’s housing director, Addmore Nhekairo, has been dragging his feet on the issue in a development that has raised suspicion.

Nhekairo refused to comment on the issue and referred questions to council’s corporate communications manager Michael Chideme.

Chideme requested questions in writing, but had not responded at the time of going to print.

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