Homeseekers pull out of Gweru housing project

BUYERS of residential stands have pulled out of Gweru City Council’s new Mkoba 21 housing scheme, accusing the local authority of reneging on its promise to service the stands after offering them to the public last year, Southern Eye has learnt.

by Stephen Chadenga

The cash-strapped local authority availed 6 733 stands to potential buyers early last year, but failed to attract investors to service the area, minutes of the council’s environment management committee reveal.

According to the minutes of the meeting held on January 21 this year, council managed to sell 1 476 out of the 6 733 stands, with some buyers reportedly pulling out of the scheme citing council’s failure to honour its side of the bargain.

gweru city council

Part of the minutes read: “807 stands were sold to the public though some are pulling out of the scheme for various reasons.”

Of these, 271 stands were sold to the Ministry of Local Government (Midlands), while 398 were given to Terra Surveys to cover for professional fees for surveying the stands.

The minutes also reveal that to date, there is no drawing plan for Mkoba 21 stands, part of the reason that could have made buyers pull out.

“It has also emerged that Mkoba 21 project does not have drawing designs and acting director of engineering services (Praymore Mhlanga) has been requested to work on same as matter of urgency,” the minutes read.

During a visit to the city by Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere last month, chairperson of the commission running the affairs at council, Tsunga Mhangami, said the first batch of 2 000 stands should be ready for servicing by March this year, adding that the municipality would approach the Local Government ministry for help in servicing the stands.

The minutes also show that the Local Government ministry made a valuation of the stands and recommended an increase in their intrinsic value, a situation that could further see the low-income class shun the scheme.

“The valuation exercise resulted in the increase of intrinsic land value in Mkoba 21 stands from two dollars to four dollars per square metre,” the minutes revealed.

Council recommended that the engineering services department comes up with detailed designs for Mkoba 21, re-advertise the scheme in the Press, indicating that servicing of the stands would be done in phases.

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