Nqobile Tshili, Business Correspondent
THE Bulawayo City Council approved a total of 2 836 housing plans valued at $51 million in 2016 in a city with a ballooning demand for accommodation and a waiting list of more than 100 000.
Town Clerk Mr Christopher Dube acknowledged in his end of the year (2016) overview report that a ballooning housing waiting list continues to be a burden on the country’s second largest city.
“During the period under review (up to 30 November 2016) a total of 2 836 plans valued at $51 568 752 were approved. A total of 3 024 new plans were submitted. The Building Inspectorate attended to 15 632 inspections during the same period under review for the year 2016,” said Mr Dube.
He, however, said the council managed to sell 1 306 stands under the pre-sale scheme in 2016 and hopes to release 3 000 stands this year.
Mr Dube said the council has engaged banks and private players in the servicing of residential stands adding that residents’ failure to pay rates was derailing the council’s service delivery plans.
The council is owed more than $144, 9 million by its debtors.
Bulawayo United Residents Association Mr Winos Dube said although people were struggling for survival, the city’s construction industry seems to be booming.
He said the more houses were being built in the city owing to Diasporans who are remitting funds to their families.
“I don’t know whether it’s the Diasporans who are supporting the residents to do the construction. I want to believe that most of the buildings that are taking shape are owned by people based outside the country who are now bringing their monies to do the construction,” Mr Dube said.
He said regardless of where the money was coming from, it was a healthy situation for the city as it promotes growth.
Housing development is a critical component of the country’s economic blue-print, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim-Asset) under the infrastructure and utilities cluster.