Bulawayo City Council (BCC) is considering having residents who benefitted from pre-sale stands pay more money to the local authority for them to be able to get key services such as water, sewer and proper road networks.
The local authority recently revealed that they were faced with a housing delivery crisis with more than 2 000 stands that were being developed by private developers having been left uncompleted with BCC forced to take legal action to resolve the impasse.
Council in 2012 started the concept of presale stands where the beneficiaries of the stands paid up front to raise the capital to service the stands.
According to the local authority 3 325 beneficiaries benefitted initially from the facility but since 2018, 10 running projects were abandoned by their developers with a total of 2225 stands.
In a letter to beneficiaries of one of the projects- Magwegwe extension- the local authority’s director of engineering services, Engineer Simela Dube wrote that one of their preferred course of action was to re-engage beneficiaries with a view of topping up payments to cover outstanding works. At least 280 stands are yet to be serviced with roads, water and sewer reticulation.
“The council resolution on these stands is to terminate the contract with the contractor and re-engage with beneficiaries on the way forward with a view of topping up payments to cover outstanding works.
“The contract was successfully terminated in May 2020 and re-engagement is scheduled for any time before the end of December 2020. The outstanding works are estimated to cost US$1 740 000, the duration of servicing the area will be highly dependent on the strategy engaged vis-a-vis availability of funds to undertake these works,” said Eng Dube.
He said the movement of the project can only be possible if beneficiaries agree to contribute and fund the servicing of the area.
“All the funds received from the beneficiaries will be used for the servicing of the residential stands. Please note that the servicing is full cost recovery. With the various maintenance programmes planned by Council, a scenario of fully pledging Council equipment for the servicing projects is not possible, although cost cutting measures where possible on plant hire can be engaged,” reads part of the letter.
Eng Dube noted that council recently formed an inter-departmental committee comprising of representatives from the financial services, housing and community services, legal section, procurement management unit, audit and engineering services with the objective of ensuring that there is progress on site or some form of closure on running contracts that have informally suspended the works.
BCC recently reported that 50 percent of its housing projects had been put on hold owing to disagreement between the local authority and the developers leading to the matter being referred for arbitration.
The local authority’s housing waiting list currently stands at 125 200. BCC has had an on and off relationship with private developers having at one point been forced to set aside their engagement in housing projects.
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