Vic­to­ria Falls re­jects $12m hous­ing project

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Leonard Ncube

VIC­TO­RIA Falls res­i­dents have re­jected a $12 mil­lion hous­ing project com­mis­sioned by the lo­cal author­ity in part­ner­ship with CBZ Hold­ings last week.

Coun­cil and CBZ en­tered into a part­ner­ship where the fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tion would fully ser­vice 1 174 low cost hous­ing units for first-time home seek­ers. The project is set to ease the town’s hous­ing back­log that stands at 15 000.

On Tues­day last week, the Vic­to­ria Falls Com­bined Res­i­dents As­so­ci­a­tion con­vened an ur­gent meet­ing and in­vited out­go­ing Town Clerk Mr Christo­pher Dube and Hous­ing and Com­mu­nity Ser­vices Di­rec­tor Mr Lot Mumpande to en­gage res­i­dents on the mat­ter.

Home seek­ers, some of them with of­fer let­ters dat­ing back to 2008, said coun­cil’s de­ci­sion to en­gage the bank places their hopes of owning houses in jeop­ardy. This was after the Hous­ing and Com­mu­nity Ser­vices Di­rec­tor told the meet­ing that home seek­ers would not au­to­mat­i­cally ben­e­fit from the project.

“We’re still rec­on­cil­ing data with CBZ and as for the cost of the stands we don’t have fig­ures yet. Peo­ple will, how­ever, pay the dif­fer­ence from what the bank will charge and what they’ve al­ready paid,” said Mr Mumpande.

He said the bank and coun­cil would vet home seek­ers on the ba­sis of fi­nan­cial ca­pac­ity.

“No-one has been al­lo­cated in the Buf­fer Zone and en­try isn’t au­to­matic. Prop­erty will be di­rectly trans­ferred to the ben­e­fi­cia­ries on the wait­ing list pro­vided they can pay,” said Mr Mumpande.

He said the stands could cost $9 000 com­pared to $6 200 paid by ben­e­fi­cia­ries else­where like in Gweru where the same bank did a sim­i­lar project.

“The bank hasn’t given us the price but for plan­ning pur­poses they could be more than $6 200 that ben­e­fi­cia­ries in Gweru paid and this is be­cause build-up costs like type of soil, con­struc­tion of roads and oth­ers will de­ter­mine the price of stands,” Mr Mumpande said.

Res­i­dents ve­he­mently dis­missed the Hous­ing Di­rec­tor’s ex­pla­na­tion, with some ac­cus­ing coun­cil of cor­rup­tion. They called for an in­de­pen­dent office com­pris­ing res­i­dents to vet home seek­ers to avoid cor­rup­tion.

“Why did you en­gage the bank with­out con­sult­ing res­i­dents? Had you failed to ser­vice the stands on your own? Right now you’re say­ing there isn’t au­to­matic en­try even if we’ve of­fer let­ters which we’ve been hold­ing on to since 1998. What’s your ex­pla­na­tion on this?” asked a res­i­dent.

An­other res­i­dent said: “Ac­com­mo­da­tion is a right but this is way too ex­pen­sive for us, we won’t af­ford. We were promised the Buf­fer Zone in 2008 and to­day you tell us that the Buf­fer Zone hasn’t been al­lo­cated. That’s not true be­cause peo­ple paid their money.”

Res­i­dents ac­cused coun­cil of cor­rup­tion say­ing they feared they would be side-lined.

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