Innocent Ruwende Municipal Reporter
Harare City Council has disbanded all housing co-operatives operating in the city with immediate effect with members of such schemes set to be incorporated in housing projects managed by council.
A new housing policy adopted by the city council recently re-emphasised that no one will be allocated a house or a housing stand without being on the city’s housing waiting list, even if they are on a private scheme.
The city will allow those housing co-operatives already given council land to finish the developments within a given time frame under tight monitoring, but the land will be taken away if the co-operatives fail to meet the deadline.
Members of housing co-operatives who have been contributing money without being allocated residential stands have been told to demand their money back from housing co-operative leaders.
Acting housing and community services director Retired Major Matthew Marara said existing co-operatives will be given specific deadlines to meet, failing which members will be incorporated into council-managed pay schemes.
“All housing co-operatives to be disbanded and respective members incorporated into housing schemes on an individual basis,” reads the city’s new housing policy endorsed at a special full council meeting recently after it was presented by Education, Health, Housing and Community Services and Licensing Committee chairperson Councillor Resias Masunda.
“No more leadership for housing co-operatives and no more payment of funds through a housing co-operative, but city council. No persons shall occupy land before services are provided and a certificate of occupation is issued by the City of Harare irrespective of it being State, council or private land.”
Under the housing policy, the city will maintain a housing waiting list for allocation of stands or incorporating those on the list into housing pay schemes.
“We no longer have housing co-operatives, but existing co-operatives given land by council to develop will be allowed to carry on,” said Mr Masunda.
“We are going to give them time frames to develop land allocated to them failure of which we are going to convert members into pay schemes.”
Harare City Council’s move comes after Government instituted a moratorium on all land allocations to land developers and co-operatives on State land after millions of dollars were lost to bogus land developers.
All developments on State land will now be carried out by the Urban Development Corporation.
Harare’s housing policy reiterates that council will be the leading developer of stands and 30 percent of all residential land on its schemes shall be reserved for high-rise flats in line with the National Housing Policy.
At least 70 percent of the residential stands will be reserved for detached dwelling housing units.
Employers with a capacity to develop stands for their employees are allowed to do so using company funds that can only be deducted after services are in place.
No employer can be allowed to get contributions from an employee for purposes of development of stands.
Employees are encouraged to join the normal City of Harare housing waiting list.
Financial institutions can be allocated areas to develop and later allocate (houses) to members on the city housing waiting list.
The city’s housing policy also entails that there shall be compulsory solar geysers on new housing units.
Tree planting on stands is also compulsory.
The city has four strategies to ensure it adequately provides housing: the go-it-alone individual allocations, pay schemes, employer-assisted schemes and public/private partnership schemes.
All allocations of stands developed or in partnership with the private sector will be done by the director of housing and community services in terms of applicable procedure.
Council shall also spearhead and encourage water harvesting technologies in line with the modern trends and the climate change.