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'Build your house in a year or lose stand'

by Staff reporter
10 Feb 2023 at 05:38hrs | Views
CHIKOMBA Rural District Council, which oversees Chivhu town, has unveiled new by-laws that include a requirement that residents should start building on stands they are buying from the council within 12 months of allocation.

The by-laws also insist that churches should have permits before using open spaces and that there must be toilets and washing water available before those permits are issued.

The by-laws, which are still subject to approval by central Government, outlaw the slaughter of livestock for sale outside an abattoir, ban of use of animal drawn vehicles at night, and outlaw vending without a licence among other several issues.

The council is now seeking approval from the Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo but has since drawn a lot of criticism from some residents through their association who have argued that the proposed by-laws were not a product of consultation.

Chivhu Residents and Ratepayers Alliance chairperson, Mr Collen Zvarevashe, has since lodged an objection saying the by-laws were not residents-friendly.

But Chikomba RDC chief executive officer, Mr Bullen Chiwara, defended the by-laws in an interview on Wednesday, saying council wanted to rationalise the sale of residential and commercial stands to avoid speculation.

"We have had stands that have gone idle for years without any development. Some have since been sold to third parties. We are grappling with a huge waiting list yet some people are holding on to undeveloped land," said Mr Chiwara.

According to the proposed by-laws, residential stands shall be allocated to applicants on a waiting list and a stand owner should commence building within 12 months of allocation and complete building within 48 months from date of allocation.

"The Council shall repossess the stand and sell it to other applicants on the waiting list if the stand remains undeveloped up to slab level up to a period of 3 years after allocation, or if a stand owner sells a stand before developing it to slab level and without Council's consent," reads the proposed by-laws.

There is also a prohibition on worshippers to gather in any open space unless a permit has been issued by the Council and the appropriate fees paid.

"The permit shall be renewed annually at a fee set by Council from time to time.

Council shall designate places or areas where persons can gather for purposes of public worship provided that such areas have, at the expense of the permit holder, potable water and toilet facilities of a temporary or permanent nature approved by the Council," read the proposed by-laws.

Ablution facilities will have to be inspected by an environmental health practitioner in terms of the Public Health Act.

There will be application procedures which worshippers should follow before constructing a temporary or a permanent structure.

Council also seeks to regulate use of human excreta and dangerous substances as fertiliser in raising vegetables or edible plants.

However, Mr Zvarevashe has objected to the proposed by-laws.

"Having read a draft of the by-laws, we the residents and business people of Chikomba District wish to object to the promulgation of these regulations and seek due amendment to the same," said Mr Zvarevashe.

He argued that the by-laws were not properly advertised as required by law and that there was no residents consultation.

"By laws must not be used as a tool to punish people but to protect and enhance community interests.

"Most of these by-laws are focusing on collecting only revenue without any positive benefits to the community," Mr Zvarevashe said.

Source - The Herald
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