Houses being built under Operation Hlalani Kuhle/ Garikai in Bulawayo’s Cowdray Park suburb cannot be occupied because they do not have water or toilet facilities.
And some of the beneficiaries could lose their stands if it turns out that they already own houses in the city.
According to a report by the city’s director of Housing and Community Services, Isaiah Magagula, 700 houses were supposed to be built in the first phase, which was commissioned by President Robert Mugabe last month.
One hundred of the houses had reportedly been allocated to beneficiaries before they were complete.
Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo handed over keys to 10 beneficiaries on November 11,but only seven houses had been “temporarily serviced in anticipation of their commissioning”.
Magagula said, apart from the seven that had temporary sewer and water connections, the rest of the houses had not been serviced. He said progress had now stalled “as it was said there was no longer any money for the project”.
The houses could therefore not legally be occupied because the city council would not issue occupation certificates until the houses had the necessary facilities.
President Mugabe commissioned the houses on November 24 during a visit to Bulawayo which was part of his senate election campaign. He warned the Bulawayo City Council, singling out the executive mayor Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube, not to frustrate Operation Hlalani Khuhle.
“This is a national programme and it must be accepted,” he was quoted as saying by the local daily. “The politics of MDC must be set aside. There can never be two governments in Zimbabwe but one. So let’s not be driven to take action.”
The Bulawayo City Council has complained about being left out of the programme yet it is the one that has the housing waiting list and approves all building plans.
In his report, Magagula said though all the beneficiaries who had been allocated houses under Phase One had been picked from the council’s housing waiting list, it was not clear what format was being used to select the beneficiaries because the registration sequence had not been used.
“The ideal situation would have been first to register, first to be allocated the stand or land,” he said.
The same applied to Phase Two which was launched on 29 October under which 3 000 stands had been allocated to those with a capacity to build their own houses.
Magagula said it was not clear how the authorities had determined the capacity of applicants to build their own houses. He said although those allocated stands were also from the council waiting list, it had been discovered that a number already owned houses in the city.
He said that those who already owned houses should be removed from the list and the stands should be repossessed.