Nqobile Tshili Chronicle Correspondent—
HOUSING stands being allocated by the Bulawayo City Council are too small, a Cabinet minister said yesterday. Small to Medium Enterprises and Cooperative Development Minister Sithembiso Nyoni made the observation in Cowdray Park suburb during a hand-over ceremony of over 22 houses constructed by a housing cooperative, ShelterSOL Holding.
“Although we’re happy that people are getting houses, these houses are too small. It’s common that women want gardens to grow vegetables and flowers. But with these stands, you can’t do that.
“I implore the Ministry of Local Government to look into the issue,” said Nyoni. She said the small stands, some measuring 200m2, deprive residents of their privacy. Nyoni hailed ShelterSOL Holding for creating a housing scheme that caters for low income earners.
ShelterSol, which is based in Harare, is building houses for cooperatives and individuals on a loan basis and members are supposed to pay back the company within five years.
The Minister said it was unfortunate that land barons were infiltrating housing cooperatives. “So far, housing cooperatives have constructed 94,000 houses countrywide. But the housing cooperatives have been affected by land barons who go into them and fleece ordinary people who would have joined,” she said.
Minister Nyoni said she was working with the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Saviour Kasukuwere to restore order in housing cooperatives. Speaking at the same event, the Minister of State for Bulawayo Metropolitan Provincial Affairs Nomthandazo Eunice Moyo said lack of accommodation was one of the major problems facing Bulawayo.
The city has over 100,000 people on its housing waiting list. Moyo said the biggest challenge in acquiring residential stands was money and banks have not made it easy for home seekers as they are reluctant to avail loans.
“Our local banks have come up with stringent conditions to those who apply for loans. “They’re quick to claim the housing stand if someone defaults on their payment scheme. We need to address this as the government,” she said.