Chegutu grapples with housing backlog

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As the world prepares to commemorate the United Nations World Habitat Day on October 1, over 9 000 home seekers in Chegutu are struggling to secure residential stands to build houses.

Municipality of Chegutu director of Housing and Community Services Melania Mandeya on Friday said an estimated 9 300 people were on the council’s housing waiting list, a figure she said had overwhelmed the cash-strapped local authority.

“There are about 9 300 people who have registered for stands with my department. This is merely a conservative estimate as the number could be way more than that,” said Mandeya.

She added that Chegutu municipality was unable to roll-out adequate housing schemes due to unavailability of financial resources to service stands.
The accommodation crisis had since given rise to the proliferation of illegal settlements on peri-urban zones around the town.

Undesignated buildings were now commonplace in residential areas, particularly Pfupajena, as landlords tried to cash-in on the housing problems in the town, a survey by NewsDay revealed last week.

Mandeya also said the council was losing thousands of dollars in potential revenue and was engaged in protracted legal battles with tenants who were leasing council houses, but were now claiming ownership of properties.

She conceded the council’s property inventory was in shambles.

Almost 100 housing units are under dispute, leaving the municipality without rental proceeds, Mandeya said.

Chegutu Town Clerk Alex Mandigo said accommodation woes were likely to persist since council was prioritising the overhaul of the ageing water and sewer reticulation system.

“Funds that we have secured from the PSIP (Public Sector Investment Programme) and other multilateral donors such as the French Red Cross have been specifically earmarked for the rehabilitation of the water and sewer systems.

“We envisage cutting the housing backlog by way of roping in other partners who would service stands before they are allocated to beneficiaries,” said Mandigo.

The municipality is owed in excess of
$5 million in unpaid rents, rates and other charges, money which could go towards servicing residential stands to cut the housing backlog, added Mandeya.