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Bulawayo avails 5 000 stands, another 5 000 in Masterplan

by Staff reporter
08 Jul 2022 at 07:35hrs | Views
THE Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has availed more than 5 000 residential stands in various suburbs with another 5 000 outlined in its master plan as part of efforts to clear the city's housing backlog, which stands at 125 000.

Giving an update on service delivery during a media briefing yesterday, BCC director of housing and community services, Mr Dictor Khumalo, said council has availed a total of 5 263 residential stands in several suburbs across the city.

Among those identified, 1 681 have been availed to land developers through the expressions of interest (EOI) tenders and servicing of some of them is nearing completion.

Council has also outlined 5 390 residential stands in its layout plans in line with the respective master plan and local plans to produce stands to meet demand for the various uses.

The master plan has been adopted by council and has gone through public exhibition with a consultant attending to comments received from the public.

Thereafter the document will be submitted to Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo for approval.

"All the stands that are being planned and targeted to be developed are part of council efforts to address Bulawayo's housing backlog sitting at 125 000," said Mr Khumalo.

"We have an annual target of availing at least 3 000 stands, which is the minimum standard to meet the national target."

The development comes barely a month after Housing and Social Amenities Minister Daniel Garwe unveiled 90 fully serviced stands at Hopelyn Housing Estate near Mahatshula suburb, with more expected.

The Hopelyn project is part of the US$11 million national housing scheme that will result in the construction of thousands of low-cost housing units in selected parts of the country.

Financial services institution, BancABC, is implementing the Hopelyn project funded by Shelter Afrique, and will benefit home seekers from Bulawayo, Harare, Gweru, Masvingo and Mutare.

Shelter Afrique is a Pan-African banking institution that exclusively supports the development of affordable housing and real estate sector development in Africa.

In November 2020, Cabinet adopted the Zimbabwe National Human Settlements Policy (ZNHSP), which was subsequently officially launched by President Mnangagwa last year in September.

The ZNHSP, which replaced the National Housing Policy of 2012, addresses several shortcomings inherent in the preceding policy outline as it addresses the housing and social amenities backlog while reducing the rural and urban divide.

The policy is in line with Vision 2030 and also dovetails with other regional and international development policies.

It integrates implications of climate change with aspects of rural and urban settlement planning, development and management.

The ZNHSP is important as it comes at a critical juncture when the country is in the midst of accelerated development in various sectors.

This pace in development means more demand for housing and well-planned settlements that make the ease of doing business achievable.

The country's national housing backlog stands at about 1,2 million and housing delivery is one of the key National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) pillars.

"As council, our key drive is to address the inadequacies pertaining to infrastructure, and provide residents with access to affordable and quality settlements," said Mr Khumalo.

"We have also roped in private developers such as McDonalds Bricks and Hopelyn Housing Estate among others and they are complementing us in terms of managing the housing challenges.

"As council, we have entered into service agreements with the developers for servicing of residential stands, which would then be sold with the developers recouping their investment from the proceeds of the sale of the stands."

The council said the EOI tender is currently open for Lot 1 of Re of Umganin 460 high density stands and 118 stands in Emganwini.

Residential stands to be advertised for EOI this month include 650 in the medium density suburb of Mahatshula East and 453 in Luveve North high-density suburb.

Mr Khumalo said the servicing of the stands in Emganwini Lot 2, Woodville, Tshabalala, Emhlangeni, Cowdray Park, Highmount, Magwegwe West and Pumula South suburbs is at various stages.

Commenting, Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) secretary for administration, Mr Thembelani Dube, said while they welcomed BCC's move to avail more stands, they felt council is not doing enough in terms of servicing them.

"While we commend the council for its efforts in trying to deliver housing, they should consider servicing stands, some of them released 10 years ago," he said.

"We have residents who were allocated, some bought stands between Magwegwe West and Pumula North along Ntemba Road in 2014 and up to now they haven't been serviced.

"Our worry is that what guarantee is there that BCC would avail more stands and not disappear without servicing them? Council should therefore first service those stands before availing new ones."

Mr Dube said BCC has been sub-contracting private land developers who ended up reneging.

The housing delivery pillar within the NDS1 is expected to deliver 220 000 housing units by 2025, through collective efforts from stakeholders and all parties involved in human settlements delivery to reduce the estimated 1,5 million housing backlog.

The trajectory towards the attainment of Vision 2030 revolves around providing human settlements, which meet the aspirations of the Zimbabwean people, while addressing affordability and modernisation aspects.

Meanwhile, Bulawayo Town Clerk Mr Christopher Dube said council has applied for a further US$10 million from the African Development Bank (AfDB) under the Bulawayo Water and Sewerage Services Improvement Project (BWSSIP).

Government in partnership with AfDB injected US$37 million under the BWSSIP to improve municipal water supply and sanitation services through the rehabilitation of the city's water supply system.

The BWSSIP project started in September 2015 and was supposed to have ended last month, but BCC applied for the programme to be extended by six more months.

Mr Dube said delays in the completion of the project due to the outbreak of Covid-19 resulted in some variations, which required more funding for the council to meet its targets.

"We got US$37 million from the African Development Bank and Government with the bank contributing US$33,4 million while the remainder came from the Government.

We managed to acquire new water pumping equipment, which resulted in the improvement of our water pumping capacity and sewage reticulation among other major works in the city," he said.

"However due to the outbreak of Covid-19 disruptions, we had some variations which required more funding for the council to meet its targets, hence we need at least a grant of US$10 million. We have since made representations to that effect."

Source - The Chronicle