Lovemore Meya Herald Reporter
About 10 000 houses in Chitungwiza, which were constructed on undesignated land, have escaped demolition following an agreement reached between one of the land barons, Mr Fredrick Mabamba, and the cash-strapped council. Owners of the houses will, however, part with $1 500 as penalty fees. Chairman of the three-member commission set up by Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere to look into the affairs of Chitungwiza Municipality Mr Madzudzo Pawadyira said the move would improve revenue inflows at the ailing local authority.
“Primarily, the reason why I am here is to breathe life into this whole thing; we have had a meeting with Mr Mabamba today for the rest of his areas where he had his people outside the system,” he said.
“I am now saying they should be in the system. This is to say, they come in and pay $1 500 as penalty fee for them to be in the system. After the payment, it triggers a lease from council and this means they will be recognised as people who acquired stands the right way.”
Mr Pawadyira said the penalty fee could be paid in instalments.
“After that, the property owners will pay a service fee which we calculate at a rate of about $300 to $400, depending with the size where one is situated,” he said.
Mr Pawadyira said not every house was going to be regularised, but only those that could ordinarily have passed the planning regulation test.
He said houses which failed to meet required standards would be demolished.
“Those not to our specifications, the owners will be asked to do self-demolition and we are not going to compensate them, but should claim from whoever sold them the stands,” said Mr Pawadyira.
Chitungwiza Town Council last year sought permission from the courts to demolish at least 15 000 houses, as they were constructed on undesignated land.
The move was meant to bring back sanity to the town where the illegal structures were said to be disrupting efficient service delivery.
A land audit recently conducted by the council revealed that some structures in St Mary’s, Seke, Manyame, Nyatsime, Unit L and Riverside were built on land earmarked for churches, schools, cemeteries, drainage systems, electricity pylons and water pipes.