Illegal stands take centre stage at council meeting

HARARE - The issue of stands be they residential, commercial or industrial formed the greater part of council debate in last week’s proceedings at a full council meeting in Harare.

The debate centred on death threats received by councillors, arguments on how many stands should be allocated and how much should be paid per square metre.

An angry deputy mayor Thomas Muzuva, showed his disapproval of housing cooperatives after he highlighted that Mufakose councillor Loveness Gomba had been threatened.

Muzuva said the cooperatives responsible for the death threats should be struck off the rolls for their unruly behaviour.

Councillors asked why commercial stands proved to be cheaper to rent — from as low as 15 cents per square metre — when some vendors were being charged the same price for one square metre despite profit variations.

Invasion of council land was also discussed as it emerged that paddocks at council farms had been invaded.

According to minutes of the audit committee, the town clerk reported that teams had been set up to deal with land invasions.

“The committee insisted that the Town Clerk Tendai Mahachi and the mayor Bernard Manyenyeni should engage the minister of local government, Public Works and National Housing Ignatius Chombo in order to map a way forward on land invasions since some invasions were on school sites,” read the minutes.

In information and publicity committee minutes, the grouping resolved that the environmental committee must look closely to delays in tackling illegal land invasions and activities.

The information committee felt that the delays in taking action on these illegal activities had also contributed to the growing problem.

“That the environmental management committee attends to the reported delays in taking enforcement action against illegal activities as soon as they surface including the alleged involvement of council officials in some of the illegal land invasions and illegal activities,” read part of the minutes.

Councillor Panganai Charumbira argued that if the delay in bringing land invaders to book continues, council will not be able to contain them.

Completion of the BIQ computerisation system was also a bone of contention for councillor Wilton Janjazi who argued that the process has since been discussed with no way forward.

The BIQ system is a billing software that council uses however, district offices are still using manual receipting because they have not yet been connected to the main server at Rowan Martin.

Janjazi argued that computerisation of the project started since the Muchadeyi Masunda council but five years later, nothing has materialised.

Strategies to increase uptake of the CABS housing project were discussed in the finance and development committee as most of the houses are still to be occupied.

The housing project in Budiriro has two and one bed-roomed housing units which cost between $21 000 and $27 000.

However, since the completion of more than 800 houses in 2014, few people have been allocated homes citing steep prices as the major hindrances.

The reduction of land value was greatly appreciated by the finance committee who felt that it would ensure the allocation of houses was done to the best interest of the poor.

“That the number of housing units to be allocated to companies be limited to allow allocation of most units to individual beneficiaries,” read part of the minutes.

The housing committee also discussed the CABS project, with the bank and Old Mutual advising that they had revised the cash deposit required for the mortgage applicants from 25 percent to 10 percent.

Salary backlogs were discussed by the human resources committee which noted that 2013 bonuses had been cleared.

The committee also noted that various challenges were being encountered as well as efforts by management to collect revenue.

They however, argued the rational of paying bonuses when council was struggling to pay salaries and suggested that there be negotiations between council and workers’ representatives to pay bonuses based on productivity.

In sport, the information and publicity committee discussed the matter of seeking sponsorship for the Harare City football club.

The minutes indicate that the logos of the prospective sponsors would be inscribed on the players regalia as advertising for the sponsor.

The companies which have previously done business with council will be approached by the patron of the club, Manyenyeni as well as the club’s executive committee and the supply chain manager.

Comments (4)

Please can your task force first visit Hatcliffe Ext North were 800 invaders occupied developers stands , These residential Stands with a proper Local Gvt approval there is no sewer or water reticulation since the invaders are from cooperatives with the backing of politics everytime when developers move in with equipment to service the arear there is a lot of interferance from these cooperative members, ironically who do not want to pay the developer to finish his mandate this is from 2004 when cooperatives were swindled their hard earned cash by the so called Chairmans and now they are battling to get refunds from the chairmans.

Hatcliffe North Ex - 9 March 2015

It remains surprising to note that council can not do anything to people who continue to grab any piece of land, put a zimbabwe flag and start allocating stands. This in my opinion is council's deliberate ploy to expose desperate home seekers to land Barons.

kufa - 9 March 2015

The council should act rapidly to stop land invaders in order to protect ordinary people who are paying money to bogus coops...........the earlier the better.

sandomhenyu - 9 March 2015

Kufa it just boggles the mind how one aquires an illegal stand via a cooperative by invading a bona fide stand allocated to some one who bought it for cash say $6000.00usd for a 200M2 there comes an invader occupies that stand , he is advised by the Chairman to built in earnest as not doing so will be at his/her disadvantage. The invader builds 10 rooms without an approved plan no sewer no water and the city council has been reading about these issues day in day out in the local papers but no action is taken to redress the situation. So we urge city of Harare and other local authorities to come in as early as possible to audit these illegal structures as the local authorities are loosing a lot of money from rates look for example the area refered to with 827 illegal invaders not paying anything to City of Harare for the past 11 years or so depriving the council so many millions in revenue.

Hatcliffe North - 9 March 2015

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