The building boom in Bulawayo continues but Operation Hlalani Kuhle has hit a snag. The Bulawayo City Council approved building plans valued at $33 billion in January. Though this was less than the $53 billion recorded in December, it was the second highest in 15 months.
Construction is now evenly spread between the high and low density suburbs with Emganwini and Cowdray Park dominating in the high density suburbs while the Killarney-Mahatshula-Parklands area rules in the low density suburbs.
Operation Hlalani Kuhle, one of the main drivers of the construction boom in Cowdray Park, has, however, hit a snag with reports that allocation of the stands in the government-run project is chaotic and borders on corruption.
The council’s director of Housing and Community Services Isaiah Magagula said government officials were not following the council waiting list with some student nurses who only registered last year getting stands ahead of people who registered in the 1980s.
He said some of the stands had been allocated to people who already had houses in the city. Though the council was involved when the list of beneficiaries was initially drawn up, there had been so many amendments that the council was not sure now who had been allocated stands.
Magagula said some housing cooperatives had submitted their applications directly to Operation Restore Order offices. The same applied to companies. Council had requested for the names of companies that had applied for stands for their employees but had never been provided the names. It was therefore very difficult to ascertain whether these companies were genuine or not.
He said there were so many special cases of people being allocated houses or stands but the council had never been asked to submit any special cases.
“A lot of such special cases were those registered in 2005. This was unfortunate, as it did not augur well for transparency,” Magagula said in his report. “It was sad to see young people, such as student nurses being allocated houses ahead of people who registered in the 1980s.”
He said his department was not prepared to rubber stamp decisions that were made without any input from the council. The processing of allocations to beneficiaries registered in 2005 had therefore been temporarily suspended in order to address the anomalies.