IDBZ Nust hostels funding under threat

Zondo Sakala

Mr Zondo Sakala

Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
THE Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ) risks losing the $12 million funding for the construction of hostels for the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) students if the dispute with residents is not resolved.

Residents from neighbouring Selbourne Park have raised objections to the students’ accommodation complex being built off campus saying the move would downgrade the status of the up-market residential area.

“We are now concerned over the continued delays in starting off the construction of the Bulawayo students’ accommodation complex, which is along the Gwanda road,” IDBZ chief executive officer, Mr Zondo Sakala, said.

“The investors of the project are now getting a little bit jittery asking if the project is still going to take off, otherwise they might still as well move those resources elsewhere.”

In an interview after the commissioning of the IDBZ southern regional office in Bulawayo Monday, Mr Sakala said construction of the students’ accommodation project, which could have taken off last year, was being delayed due to the protest by local residents.

“Some complaints are that if we build outside the campus, we are sabotaging the university, which I think is a bizarre argument. There is no university I know of that has all its students housed on campus,” said Mr Sakala.

“Some of the objections that we have received really don’t have objective basis because we have also heard complaints from residents saying it (Bulawayo students’ accommodation project) is going to downgrade the standing of the neighbourhood.

“But the same neighbourhood has houses with three or four bedroom houses with six, 10, 15, 20 students packed in those houses so we don’t believe this is being done with a positive spirit and it is important that we allow proper facilities to be built in the interest of our children.”

Finance and Economic Planning Minister Patrick Chinamasa is on record saying only 15 percent of students at State universities have accommodation at the campus halls of residence while the rest rely on lodgings in areas surrounding the universities. The past two decades have seen huge changes in higher education, the number of students has increased to over 70 000 and only just above 11 000 have accommodation.

The Government has noted the need for increased investments in learning space, accommodation facilities, recreational and other supporting facilities.

Recently, IDBZ moved out of commercial banking to become a dedicated infrastructure development institution with its infrastructure development projects being funded by pension funds and asset managers.
Mr Sakala said the arguments being put by local residents were unfortunate and delaying commencement of the project. It is envisaged that on completion, the Bulawayo project will accommodate 1 023 students from universities in and around Bulawayo.

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  • Bongani Dlamini

    student residences in an upmarket residential area?. cant council and nust identify alternative space for these hostels.? since only shonas get college and varsity places, this will be one place with the highest concentration of these northerners outside mbare.

    • Nimrod Mudenda

      There you go again, nincompoop!!! I wonder why you have not simply retraced your steps to eSwatini if you detest Shona-speaking natives so much!!

      • Bongani Dlamini

        No buddy. I don’t detest anyone, am just stating facts as obtaining. As I pack for eSwatini wena pack too and return to Burundi

  • Ndlukula Ye Sizwe

    Is there no room within NUST campus to build this accomodation. i can imagine the immorality that will be happening at these hostels outside of the university jurisdiction. we dont want another MSU situation in Byo

  • Essexvale

    Railroad the project and ignore the disputing residents complaints which are really born out of the evil desire to line their pockets. The IDBZ spokesperson in the report, questions the dissenting voices of Selborne Park, where he claims there are house owners who pack 16 students into 3 bedroom houses. Well, there lies the crux of the matter. These house owners are exploiting the situation for all its worth, while denying students the decent living conditions offered by the bank’s student accommodation project. The way I see it seems as if the concerns of these house-owners in regard to this issue is something that goes much deeper than it appears and is obviously driven by greed. This selfish attitude should therefore be strongly condemned.

    • Bongani Dlamini

      You are wrong and confused. The residents are worried that the values of their properties will fall when all sorts of students from Maswingo and such other far flung places wander about pissing everywhere drinking scuds. Maybe the university should have been located further. We all know that there will be overcrowding at these facilities, broken windows, broken toilets and all sorts of things. I feel sorry for Selbourne Park residents if this goes ahead.

      • Essexvale

        I respect your right to air your opinion on the platform. However, I too have a right to do the same and in my comment I have done just that. Please note that free expression of the opinion in question does not necessarily mean that I am wrong or confused.

  • Think Tank

    Have you guys been to Selbourne Park and viewed some of the alleged “up market” residential homes. What a joke! Selbourne Park has long been devalued by squatter-esq settlements that have been built next to mansions in the surburb. Most stands are poorly developed and I really do not know who gave permission for high density structures to be built in a low density suburb. The objections to this project are simple. Most of the landlords in Selborne make a killing by renting out to students. A multi-million dollar facility such as this would drastically reduce the demand for accomodation in the area which is a threat to landlords. If you think Selbourne Park is upmarket take a walk there and see for yourself. In any case, the mooted student campus is really very far from the suburb. Let’s get serious!

  • zim1

    I think it’s logical that the hostels are built within the Nust premises. There is enough land at Nust and some of that land is demarcated for such developments. As a resident of this area I thought the piece of land in question was reserved by council for development of a shopping mall since there no such facility in the vicinity