By Johannes Chin’ombe
MASVINGO, December 2, 2015 – Masvingo residents who are leasing council houses are complaining over the delay by council to implement the home ownership housing scheme which is in line with the 2012 council resolution and government policy that long serving tenants without arrears would be given the houses with prices being determined on how long the person has been renting the house with some tipped to receive the houses for free.
Council tenants who spoke on conditions of anonymity complained that they have been kept hanging for too long and do not know if they are still to benefit from the scheme. Some even questioned the transparency of the delayed scheme.
“The delay by council to implement the home ownership scheme has left us undecided. My house is bad shape and I don’t know if I should renovate the house or it’s still council mandate to do so. I need an answer earlier so that I know what action to take since my home is in bad shape,” one tenant said.
“We are awaiting the implementation process to start so that we know our position. The position we need is to know whether we are to benefit or not since the registered council tenant is late. That answer is important and crucial for us as a family but the delay in the implementation of the home ownership housing scheme has kept us hanging,” another youthful tenant said.
“I have been a council home tenant for the past 15 years and this delay only makes me doubt the transparency of the whole programme,” complained an elderly woman from Masvingo’s Mucheke suburb.
Masvingo United Residents and Ratepayers Association coordinator, Anoziva Muguti said council resolution is in positive light though he expressed that his organisation is now worried on what is putting the programme on halt.
“The delay by the city fathers to implement the scheme is saddening and worrisome since residents are grappling with the effects of massive housing shortages. We urge the city council to move fast in implementing the scheme in order to ease the housing challenges bedevilling the city,” Muguti said.
Masvingo Residents Trust chairperson, Prosper Tiringindi added that council should not make decisions alone without including resident associations.
“The problem with council is that they want to make decisions alone without consulting us. Consulting us would fasten the process since we hold a lot of plights from the community and if shared, the relevant information we hold will speed up the program. As MRT we are therefore not pleased with this delay since people have been made to wait for too long,” Tiringindi added.
An official council document however revealed that progress was stalled as councillors demanded that they want clarity on how the council management was to choose beneficiaries and also more knowledge on what the scheme really is.
“On minute 346(ii) regarding home ownership scheme for council rented houses, some of the members highlighted that they required more education on the scheme. It was suggested that a workshop should be organised where members would be briefed on procedures and processes involved in the home ownership housing scheme,” the document read.
“Some of the members were of the view that the workshop was not necessary as the home ownership scheme was in line with the 2012 council resolution and government policy since council was the housing authority. Members of the Health, Housing and Environmental Services Committee raised concern that the request for a briefing workshop would further delay the implementation of the scheme since decision to proceed was already in place,” further read the document.
The council however resolved that the matter be brought back for further discussion to the Health, Housing and Environmental Services Committee as town clerk Adolf Gusha had argued that workshop cannot pass resolution on the mater.
“The home ownership housing scheme cannot be discussed at a workshop since a workshop had no mandate to come up with resolutions. I suggest that the matter be referred back to the Health, Housing and Environmental Services Committee for consideration,” argued Gusha.
Meanwhile, Masvingo City Council is struggling to provide stands for locals as the residential stands waiting list is increasing by the day.