Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
OLD Mutual Group has unveiled 1 082 housing stands in Bulawayo that are being serviced under a public private partnership (PPP) agreement with the local authority.
Speaking at the ground-breaking event for the project yesterday board chairman, Mr Bekithemba Nkomo, said the country cannot afford to over-rely on Treasury to fund development projects given limited fiscal space. The group is servicing 596 stands in Pumula South while an additional 486 will be serviced in Nkulumane suburb.
Mr Nkomo told beneficiaries of the housing scheme, Old Mutual staff and representatives of the contractor for the project that PPPs were the answer to infrastructure development in the face of economic challenges.
“Over-reliance on Treasury to fund development initiatives is a comfort that we can no longer afford…we understand that Government has had, in some instances, cut budgetary support towards local authorities.
“This in turn has affected capacity of local authorities to finance infrastructure development projects,” said Mr Nkomo.
“In worst cases, local authorities can no longer adequately fund for maintenance of existing infrastructure. It, therefore, calls for the adoption of Public Private Partnership models for the development of Zimbabwe such as the one entered in by Old Mutual and the Bulawayo City Council for the Pumula South stands.”
He said Old Mutual has been a significant corporate citizen in PPPs demonstrating that the leading financial services group was a brand committed to the development of the country.
“Our responsible investment frameworks are indeed sensitive to the development of our nation. Our purpose is to help customers thrive by enabling them to achieve their lifetime financial goals, while investing their funds in ways, which will create a positive future for them, their families, communities and the world at large,” said Mr Nkomo.
“This project, as witnessed by all, further endorses Old Mutual’s commitment to supporting development and growth of the Zimbabwean economy through initiatives that foster the development of housing and infrastructure for our communities.”
Old Mutual group chief executive officer, Mr Jonas Mushosho, said through the Pumula South and Nkulumane housing projects, they were providing an opportunity to 1 082 families to build their homes. Development of the Pumula South housing scheme commenced in November 2017 and will be completed in May this year.
“The housing scheme whilst earmarked for the general populace at large was also designed with the small to medium traders in mind. The major requirements for Pumula South stands are; a deposit of 30 percent and one needs to be registered with the City Council and be on the housing list,” he said.
After the deposit, buyers should raise the balance over 12 months. He said pre-selling of the stands that range from 200 square metres to 1 100 square metres started in May last year with 300 stands having been sold.
“And more applications are undergoing the vetting process. We foresee selling of 596 stands in Pumula by June 2018 and then shift to the 486 stands in Nkulumane,” said Mr Mushosho.
Old Mutual has delivered the Budiriro housing scheme in Harare as a direct response to a growing national housing backlog.
“Furthermore, we also realised that the majority of enterprising Zimbabweans were not only starved of affordable housing but of decent and convenient trading space as well. To this end, we embarked on journey to constructing the Old Mutual SME Centre in Harare’s Central Business District, a revolutionary concept that will result in the first such facility,” he said.