Andile Tshuma, Chronicle Reporter
BULAWAYO Town Clerk Mr Christopher Dube has said private land developers are giving City Fathers a headache after failing to deliver, hence the local authority will no longer be providing them with land.
Mr Dube urged land developers struggling to complete projects to surrender the land to the city council and not subject home seekers to inhumane living conditions.
The Town Clerk was speaking in response to distress calls from Pelandaba West residents who still have no water and sewage systems after moving into their homes in 2015.
“We are having problems with part of Ward 27, Pelandaba West which has still not been serviced to this day. We are trying to facilitate dialogue between the private developers and the beneficiaries so that this whole thing comes to an end. The problem is that the project is not yet finished and the developer is now quoting using the bond and rating, saying money has lost value, thereby charging beneficiaries exorbitant amounts of money,” said Mr Dube.
He said the Pelandaba West land development project was just one of many projects carried out by private developers that are not up to standard.
“We have 12 schemes that are being done by private developers and one of those that are giving us headaches is the Selborne Brooke development and another one in Trenance suburb. The Trenance suburb developer wants us to service the area for free, but it will not be free because we will be taking the rate payers’ money. We offered to give him a quotation and service at a fee but he still has not delivered on his promises to the people,” said Mr Dube.
The Town Clerk said the municipality was no longer availing land to private developers.
“Remember Government issued an order that we should no longer give private developers land because once they subdivide and make people pay and allow them to occupy the places before they finish servicing, they do not own up to their end of the deal. That’s the problem with private developers. We are now having problems with those that are failing to complete projects,” said Mr Dube.
“If land developer fails to complete a project, they should surrender it back to city council so that stands may be serviced and fully developed for beneficiaries to move in.”
He said council was not obliged to service an area which was under a private developer, but was giving the community safe treated water in Pelandaba West in an effort to curb possible disease outbreaks.
“By right, those people should move out because there is no certificate of occupation. Giving them water using bowsers is just a humanitarian gesture but we are not obliged to do it. They have a private arrangement with the land developer and it has nothing to do with us. We have been trying to help the Pelandaba West residents as we understand their plight but our hands are tied as they have a contract with a private land developer and not council,” Mr Dube said.
He said council was going to come up with a decision on selling residential stands in forex.
“We are going to have a multi-stakeholder meeting next week to discuss the proposed sale of residential stands in forex. Due to hyperinflation, the average price of a council stand ($5 000) has lost value and we are unable to deliver the required services with that kind of money. With the economic situation, people have lost their trust in private developers. We advertised stands in Pumula South recently but money lost its value and what we charged is no longer enough to meet the costs. We will be operating at a loss and it is unsustainable,” Mr Dube said.