The Harare City Council has reviewed its housing policy, replacing the old Cooperatives Model that has been corruption riddled with a Housing Pay Scheme, as it battles to regain one of its mandates that had been usurped by land barons.
Hardly a week passes without cases involving hapless prospective house owners lodging cases against land barons in courts after being conned of their hard earned money.
In his State of The City Address at Town House recently, Harare City Mayor Councillor Bernard Manyenyeni, said the city recorded poor results in the housing sector, with land invasion and illegal structures being the order of the day as homeless people take advantage the local authority’s failure to enforce by-laws.
“In the housing sector we have not done very well as a city. Land invasions and illegal settlements are causing headaches for us. Notwithstanding that, the following has been done. We have reviewed the housing policy and introduced Housing Pay Schemes as a housing delivery model that replaced the housing cooperatives model,” he said.
With rural to urban migration increasing, thousands of people have been flooding cities and towns and some land barons have moved in to cover the vacuum in housing provision that has been created as a result of local authorities’ failure to provide serviced housing stands.
As such, Cllr Manyenyeni admitted the housing co-operative approach was fraught with problems, resulting in the local authority departing from that old model.
He said recently 12 905 serviced, partially serviced and unserviced residential stands were allocated to people on the Housing waiting list as the city moves to regain its lawful mandate.
“Regularisations: 64139 unserviced residential stands were regularised. I wish to reiterate that future regularisation should not be the incentive to break our rules.
“Transfers processed: 4101 transfer for titles where processed increasing our revenue base by over $719 000 through processing fees. On Consents processed: 572 consents were processed, increasing our revenue base by approximately $156 712 as processing fees,” he said.
Cllr Manyenyeni said various Memoranda of Agreements were signed for partnerships in Housing developments under Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) in a move meant to speed up the provision of low cost houses to mainly low income earners.
Due to some challenges being experienced, many people have resorted to the informal sector as a means for sustenance, resulting in the sector causing headaches to the city fathers.
Said Cllr Manyenyeni: “In the informal sector we have not achieved much except the regularisation of markets sites and home industries in Hatcliffe, Kuwadzana and Budiriro. We also established three District Offices and nine Sub-Offices to bring services closer to the people.
“ We have various Memoranda of Agreements, which we will operationalise this year for the development of SMEs infrastructure in the city.”
In the social services sector, the city constructed Tariro Primary School in Hopley in partnership with, Mashambanzou Care Trust to ease challenges being faced in the area.
The city also took over the administration of the Joshua Nkomo Housing Cooperative Community School in Kambuzuma following some bottlenecks that were stalling development.
He said a private property developer also undertook to construct a block of classrooms in the Glaudina area as pupils were learning in the open, a scenario that has been affecting the education delivery in the area.
Said Cllr Manyenyeni; “Meanwhile, our halls and stadia are in dire need of refurbishments and that is a possible major focus for this year, subject to improved financial management. We are this year also focusing on re-greening our City and revamping our parks.”