No housing policy at Chiredzi Town Council

Ngonidzashe Chikandiwa

Chiredzi – Chiredzi, the second largest town in Masvingo Province has operated for 20 years without a housing policy and this has been a source of corruption and chaos, analysts have said.

The sentiments came as the once fastest growing town in Zimbabwe released its first draft housing policy last week, 20 years after it gained town status in 2000.

It appears that council’s motive for a policy now was only driven by its desire to get city status.

Housing experts who spoke to The Mirror on condition of anonymity said a housing policy is a must for any formal settlement as it ensures that there is compliance with orderly planning and fair distribution of residential stands. It sets the rules, regulations and guidelines for provision of shelter to residents, they said.

“The policy ensures fair listing for residential stands, sets deadlines for payments and conditions under which residents can get stands. It sets the conditions under which a resident can acquire a stand and how and when the local authority can reposes that stand.

“Housing policies encompasses housing regulations and bylaws and allocation packages for council employees.

“It is therefore surprising that such a large town has been able to allocate and reposes stands for the past 20 years without any such guidelines. What guided it? Was this not a recipe for chaos and corruption?” questioned one expert.

In December last year Chiredzi Town Council lost a case in which two of its employees were dragged to court for allegedly corruptly allocating residential stands to each other. The magistrate ruled out that there was no violation of council regulations.
Town secretary Charles Muchatukwa who has been at the helm for the past 15 years confirmed the position.

He however, ruled out corruption at the council and said that the local authority can account for all stands that it allocated.
“We only had housing policy drafts and we are now putting it in black and white not only to deal with corruption but other issues as well,” said Muchatukwa.

United Chiredzi Residents and Rate Payers Association (UCHIRRA) advocacy and communication officer Bernard Dachi said the absence of a housing policy for 20 years is a sign of incompetency.

He alleged that the situation was deliberately created so that senior managers and people of influence could loot council land.
“This is not just incompetency but is a situation that was also deliberately created to allow politicians and managers to loot council land”, he said.

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