Bulawayo City Council says it has no money to service government’s Hlalani Kuhle/Garikai houses built outside the city’s plan in Cowdray Park soon after its disastrous Murambatsvina demolitions in 2005.
The government recently resolved to hand over all the hurriedly-built houses to local authorities to ensure the inhabitants got water and reticulation services.
The houses, built in all the country’s major cities and towns, remained without water and sewer connections, after local authorities distanced themselves from the scheme, because it was not on their master plans.
In response to questions sent by NewsDay on the issue, BCC said even if the Government handed over the houses, it would be a futile exercise as the local authority did not have funds to service the scheme.
“Despite the fact that Government has not yet officially handed over the Hlalani Kuhle/Garikai houses to the local authority, we do not have the finances to put up the reticulation system in Cowdray Park,” said Bongiwe Ngwenya, the BCC public relations officer. The local authority said it could only service the area when money became available.
“The reticulation system will be addressed once all resources are secured through funding,” said BCC. It should be noted that the Cowdray Park area requires both on site and off site infrastructure services.”
In 2005, the Zanu PF government shocked the world when it demolished thousands of what it called illegal slums in all urban centres under the infamous Operation Marambatsvina/Restore Order, leaving an estimated 700 000 people homeless.
After worldwide condemnation, the government launched Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle in an attempt to save face.
However, the houses remained without water and sewer reticulation systems as local authorities declined to connect them to their systems.