Under Investigation Harare City Council Blocked From Issuing Stands
8 June 2020
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State Media
|Desperate home seekers in Harare will have to wait a bit longer to get stands from council after the local authority temporarily froze new stand allocations and suspended operations of the allocation unit in the Housing Department until internal investigations into unprocedural, double and fake allocations are complete.

The process for one to acquire a stand in Harare has been raising eyebrows over the years with the local authority issuing offer letters without stamps, making it easy for officials to duplicate the document leading to double allocations.

The freeze on the allocation of stands is expected to pave way for the introduction of a Human Settlements Policy that will see land barons being cut out of Harare’s housing programme.

Under the new policy council will only allocate serviced land, preventing anyone from seizing unserviced land and later seeking regularisation.

Town clerk Engineer Hosiah Chisango and housing director Mr Addmore Nhekairo were yesterday reported to be holding a crunch meeting prompted by the temporary closure of the allocation unit in the department of Housing.

Harare City Council in a statement said the move to temporarily shut down the unit was prompted by desperate home seekers that were duped of their hard-earned cash.

Council spokesperson Mr Michael Chideme said the allocations unit will remain closed until investigations are complete.

“Harare City Council is encouraging residents who feel they were short-changed in the allocation of residential stands through our Housing Department to report to the Municipal Police headquarters with evidence or proof of the transactions they did.

“Council is investigating the unprocedural allocation of housing stands, double allocations and fake allocations with a view of improving service delivery and bringing to book employees who might have been involved,” said the local authority.

Harare Residents Trust director Mr Precious Shumba yesterday said council has had an opaque stands allocation system for a long time.

“Desperate home seekers on the housing waiting list have always complained that they are not being allocated the stands because people with money have been bribing corrupt officials and councillors to secure stands.

“The result has been that the poor people have been paying money for renewals without receiving any joy. To make matters worse, the renewals are now being done twice a year,” he said.

Mr Shumba said it is important that all the people involved should be thoroughly investigated.

A concerned resident, Freeman Mutambara, said it is sad that council continues to parcel out prime land to land barons for a song who then go on to sell the same stands for a premium.

Another resident, Privilege Musvanhiri said the housing waiting list was not working.

“I have been on the housing list for almost 10 years and I have been to the office inquiring about infill stands in our neighbourhood in Mabelreign and Greencroft. Each time you are told there is nothing but we see new development taking place there.”