THE allocation of 20,000 residential stands to youths in Bulawayo by the government will not be done on political grounds, a Cabinet Minister has said.
The Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Saviour Kasukuwere told MPs during the National Assembly’s question and answer session on Wednesday that local authorities have been sitting on land instead of offering it to residents.
He was responding to questions by MPs who questioned the motive behind his ministry’s offering stands to youths. Minister Kasukuwere said the government would no longer watch while local authorities commercialised land at the expense of suffering citizens.
“First and foremost, we’re not distributing or let alone having people access stands on the basis of their political cards. We want to ensure that all Zimbabweans where possible, have housing opportunities,” said Minister Kasukuwere.
He said it was disappointing that local councils have resorted to commercialising land instead of offering it to home seekers.
“For a very long time, government has been making land available to the city authorities. However, if you see the records by city authorities, most of the land was distributed to land barons and cooperatives, to the extent that many of the people who accessed the land didn’t pay for the land even to the city authorities,” he said.
Minister Kasukuwere said the government cannot allow citizens to continue struggling at the mercy of local authorities.
“We felt this process or system can no longer be acceptable. We’ve authority within government; the Urban Development Corporation which is charged with ensuring that we develop housing and house our people. We’re going for a transparent process – a system that will ensure that the majority of our people has access to land,” Minister Kasukuwere.
The Minister lashed out at Bulawayo Mayor Councillor Martin Moyo for downplaying the importance of housing citing the city father’s recent comments that the 100,000 housing waiting list was not an issue.
“It would have been my desired route to work with the city authorities and give them land but some of them have publicly said they don’t want the land, with 100,000 people on the waiting list. I can’t force cities which have said that publicly and I can quote the Bulawayo Mayor,” said the Minister.
“He said the 100,000 people on the waiting list aren’t an issue. How can 100,000 people be not an issue to a city father? We’re saying we’ll move into Bulawayo and ensure that we give land to the people; irrespective of their political persuasion, we’re going to house them.”
Last week Minister Kasukuwere unveiled land in Bulawayo where housing stands will be pegged.