Coun­cil to in­ves­ti­gate city over­crowd­ing

Sunday News (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page -

LAND­LORDS in Bu­l­awayo who have cre­ated makeshift board­ing fa­cil­i­ties re­sult­ing in over­crowd­ing in some houses are un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the lo­cal au­thor­ity say­ing they are vi­o­lat­ing de­vel­op­ment per­mits.

The most af­fected ar­eas will be in Sel­bourne Park and Sel­borne Brook where res­i­dents have turned their houses into board­ing fa­cil­i­ties, tak­ing ad­van­tage of the short­age of ac­com­mo­da­tion at the Na­tional Univer­sity of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy (Nust).

In­ves­ti­ga­tions by this pub­li­ca­tion re­vealed that a num­ber of res­i­dents do not even stay in the houses re­sult­ing in a sit­u­a­tion where stu­dents oc­cupy the main house and cot­tage with two to three stu­dents shar­ing a sin­gle room.

The land­lords go fur­ther to en­tice stu­dents by of­fer­ing free Wi-Fi for them. Re­spond­ing to ques­tions from Sunday News the lo­cal au­thor­ity’s se­nior public re­la­tions of­fi­cer Mrs Ne­sisa Mpofu said the lo­cal au­thor­ity will be launch­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion in the two sub­urbs.

“An in­ves­ti­ga­tion will be made and a follow up will be made in terms of De­vel­op­ment Con­trol to as­sess the is­sue of peo­ple us­ing their houses as board­ing houses with­out De­vel­op­ment Per­mits and ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tion will be taken in terms of ex­ist­ing statutes,” said Mrs Mpofu.

Mean­while, the coun­cil spokesper­son re­vealed that the stu­dent ac­com­mo­da­tion project be­ing un­der­taken by the In­fra­struc­ture De­vel­op­ment Bank of Zim­babwe (IDBZ) will go ahead de­spite Sel­bourne Park res­i­dents air­ing their op­po­si­tion to the fa­cil­ity.

The res­i­dents had raised ob­jec­tions to the stu­dents’ ac­com­mo­da­tion com­plex be­ing built in the sub­urb say­ing the move would down­grade the sta­tus of the up-mar­ket res­i­den­tial area. Iron­i­cally it is the same res­i­dents who have es­tab­lished makeshift board­ing fa­cil­i­ties within their homes. Mrs Mpofu, how­ever, said they had fol­lowed all the nec­es­sary pro­ce­dures in grant­ing IDBZ with the de­vel­op­ment per­mit.

She said con­trary to re­ports that some res­i­dents were op­posed to the de­vel­op­ment; the lo­cal au­thor­ity did not re­ceive any ob­jec­tions dur­ing the stip­u­lated pe­riod to air these griev­ances.

“The IDBZ ac­com­mo­da­tion project was ap­proved by coun­cil and has a valid de­vel­op­ment per­mit. In their ap­pli­ca­tion all pro­cesses and pro­ce­dures were fol­lowed and the per­mit was granted af­ter due con­sul­ta­tion with stake­hold­ers. The process was in terms of the Re­gional Town and Coun­try Plan­ning Act.

“Ob­jec­tors to the de­vel­op­ment were ex­pected to sub­mit their ob­jec­tions within 30 days of the win­dow pe­riod but at the clo­sure there were no ob­jec­tions. Upon the grant­ing of the per­mit, the ag­grieved had the right to ap­proach the Ad­min­is­tra­tive Court within 30 days and they did not. Hence IDBZ is ex­pected to be work­ing on site,” said Mrs Mpofu.

Re­cently, IDBZ re­ported that they risked los­ing the $12 mil­lion fund­ing for the con­struc­tion of the hos­tels if the dis­pute with res­i­dents was not re­solved.

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