Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere will descend on Bulawayo City Council to inspect land identified for 20 000 residential stands for youths and to rein in the authority for failing to make provision for housing projects.
In an interview, Minister Kasukuwere said Government had to intervene because the authorities had failed to set aside land for that purpose, but were instead allocating themselves land for self enrichment.
The minister attacked Bulawayo Mayor Councillor Martin Moyo for allegedly resisting Government moves to provide land for ordinary people. This was after Clr Moyo was quoted in the media saying council did not have the capacity to service 20 000 residential stands on 300 hectares.
Bulawayo’s housing waiting list stands at 100 000. Clr Moyo was quoted as saying the ministry should instead provide funds to service the stands if they were to issue such a directive.
“Besides, I believe as a local authority, we are already on a positive in terms of availing stands to our residents.
“Our housing backlog is just over 100 000, and this is not a crisis figure considering that according to the ZimStat census, we are just above 600 000 in terms of population. I doubt whether there is a need to panic,” said the mayor.
He said Government had moved in and was working with the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs Cde Eunice Sandi-Moyo to provide low-cost housing schemes.
“We will visit Bulawayo very soon, to inspect the land that has been made available and monitor the progress that the Minister of State in the province Amai Sandi-Moyo has made to date with regards to the land we have set aside for the young people. The same will be done in Harare and other areas. We have to make land available to people for them to build and own homes,” said Minister Kasukuwere.
Responding to Cllr Moyo said, “I am surprised that the mayor of Bulawayo said we don’t need more land. I thought he was not being serious. The policy of Government is that if we can, let’s provide shelter and housing to all our people. But to boast and say we have a 100 000 housing waiting list, but it’s not an issue, I think it kind of sends a message of a mayor who is not serious about the expectation of the majority. Because, as Government, we are emphasising the need to house all our people. We need to eliminate the challenge facing our people, which is of lodging where they get abused,” said Minister Kasukuwere.
Minister Kasukuwere said it was imperative that people own houses consistent with Government’s economic blue-print, Zim-Asset.
He said: “They (local authorities) have failed to build houses, and we have to intervene as the State. What do we do? They were allocating land to land barons, with chaos all over the city. Right now, there are serious cases of corruption involving almost all the town councillors. Each time a councillor saw a piece of land which is on the market, it would be meant for that councillor.” herald