By Judith Sibanda
Victoria Falls, August 04, 2016 – THE Victoria Falls Council has set itself on a collision course with home seekers after roping in the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ) to develop some housing stands at a total cost of $3.2 million without consulting their owners.
About 500 residents convened an urgent meeting with council on Wednesday night at Chinotimba Hall to seek clarity on the surprise deal amid fears the elites were going to benefit at the expense of low-earning home seekers.
Among the affected were those who had been on the housing waiting since 1989 and those that have been paying service subscriptions through housing cooperatives.
Many residents said they were worried that CBZ would charge them a lot of money for financing the construction of the houses after they had already paid some to council.
During the meeting, one resident quizzed council authorities on how they engaged the bank before pegging the price of the houses.
“We have been asking how the council got to sign this deal without first getting the initial price of each house. What if they come out saying it is now $10 000?” said the resident, one Morgen Gaza.
Another resident also queried the move.
“We have seen in most cases stands being swiped away right in our eyes. For instance, we have been paying for Buffer-Zone stands yet now they say the allocation will not be automatic and that means the majority of us will not benefit anything.”
However in response, Council Housing Director, Lot Mumpande said priority was to be given to first time home seekers and on condition their subscriptions were up to date.
“The thrust of this project is to provide a housing scheme for low income earners and that is the starting point from us and the bank. The then deposit of $3 000 has been phased out and will introduce 0% deposit.
“We hear people saying the stands are given to a person who own about five houses yet this is not the thrust of the council. The intention is to provide home to the first time home seekers and if you see this happening, do not hesitate to come and report to us.”
Mumpande could not avail prices from residential stands as he indicated that they were still to hear from CBZ from each house adding that the government could no longer avail loans to local authorities hence a partnership with the bank.
Meanwhile, CBZ Holdings last week unveiled a $12 million housing project that will see the financial institution servicing nearly 1 200 residential stands in efforts to complement government’s current thrust to reduce the housing backlog in the country.
Of the 1 174 stands, 1 008 will be high density housing and the remaining 166 stands would be for medium density housing, which is in line with the financial institution’s strategy to deliver low cost housing.
According to council’s statistics, residents in need of houses go up to 15 000 hence a resolution that an urgent meeting must be organised where CBZ and Council representatives meet and explain to residents pertaining the payment plans.