MUTARE– City of Mutare has resolved to provide serviced residential stands to home-seekers after ditching private land developers who according to the municipality have only worsened the housing situation.
City of Mutare is sitting on a waiting list of over to sixty thousand people.
Mutare housing director, Emma Mandiziba said the city is currently resolving legacy problems created by unscrupulous land barons in some settlements and will now focus on providing developed stands.
She said due to political interference some land barons issued and sold land illegally giving rise to unsanctioned settlements which council is working towards regularizing.
“Land developers had left citizens in inhabitable settlements without proper water, sanitation, roads and drainage services.
“We have realised with regret how private land developers have left most of the settlements without proper services like water, sanitation, roads and drainage systems thereby leaving citizens in flood prone areas,
“Council will not issue land to any land developers. Going forward, it is now the responsibility of the council to allocate land to its ratepayers,” she said.
Mandiziba said while council has closed its doors to land developers, it was in the process of correcting the anomalies created by land barons.
Council is currently regularizing settlements such as Gimboki and Federation in Dangamvura high density areas which were created by private land developers who left settlers without putting in place water and sewer facilities.
These areas to date have no proper road network and health facilities, while settlers buy water from surrounding communities others rely on unprotected sources such as wells and streams.
“With regards to settlements that are already affected, council also resolved to take up settlements which were mismanaged by land developers so that we can complete servicing of such areas,” said Mandiziba.
United Mutare Residents and Ratepayers Trust (UMRRT) coordinator Edson Dube said council must expedite the process of allocating stands to residents on the waiting list.
“Housing is still a challenge in Mutare. It is taking ages for people to be allocated stands. Land barons have taken advantage of the situation to fleece desperate home seekers,” said Dube.
Recent floods which hit parts of the city affected houses constructed on wetlands and waterways, and central government has called for council to bring sanity, while councils must also relocate people in suitable areas.
Areas like Gimboki, where allocation of stands was haphazard were hit by the floods which also destroyed roads, precast walls and flooding in other suburbs Zimta, Dreamhouse, Pegasus, Greenside extension and Fairbridge Park.