UMGUZA Rural District Council (RDC) chief executive officer Collen Moyo has charged that Mbundane residents in Bulawayo’s Upper Rangemore area were illegally settled by the land developer, Mehluli Khumalo Land Developers, against the municipal’s procedures.
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Moyo said the setbacks Mbundane residents faced were as a result of the irregularities caused by Habek Enterprises — the company responsible for servicing stands in the area.
He said according to council procedures, the land developer was supposed to meet conditions stipulated in the permit for the subdivision of land. Part of the conditions which the land developer was supposed to fulfil, according to the local authority, included a reticulated water supply system.
“But the land developer allocated stands to residents before meeting all the conditions in the permit for the subdivision of lands,” Moyo said.
“We advised him not to allocate stands before the area gets water connected, but he went against our advice. Residents were not supposed to stay in that area before servicing of the stands. Their suffering is as a result of the land developer.”
Khumalo is accused of unilaterally connecting water to the area after succumbing to pressure from residents but the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) responded by terminating the water supply.
According to Moyo, the conflict between BCC and the Umguza RDC was imaginary as they had never sat down to deliberate on the issues.
Mbundane falls under the RDC, but is within the Bulawayo master plan approved by the Local Government, Rural and Urban Development ministry.
“The crisis between Umguza and BCC is imaginary because the two councils have never deliberated on the issue so anyone who attributes the problems of Mbundane to our alleged conflict is off the line,” said Moyo.
However, Moyo said the land developer continued pestering the RDC to accede to “voluntary incorporation” of Mbundane into Bulawayo for it to be administered by BCC.
Bulawayo mayor Martin Moyo said Mbundane was Umguza’s baby not theirs, but Umguza RDC said it would only negotiate with BCC if the land developer completed the servicing of stands in the settlement.
Mehluli Khumalo, the director of Habek Enterprises, could not be drawn into commenting as his personal assistant insisted he was not in the office when Southern Eye sought a comment from him.
Meanwhile, Mbundane Residents’ Association chairperson David Luphahla has urged parties involved in the fiasco to come out clean and immediately connect water to the suburb which has gone for nine years without running water.
A single borehole drilled to serve more than 3000 people in the area broke down last year forcing residents to resort to buying water at nearby plots at a cost of R1 for a 25-litre bucket. Due to the water problems, a ticking health time bomb is ticking in the settlement and could explode anytime as residents use near-by bushes to relieve themselves while others – at the instruction of the Environmental Management Agency – have erected communal toilets to reduce the health risks.