CHIREDZI — A storm is brewing between Chiredzi Town Council and beneficiaries of Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle houses after the former refused to collect garbage from the residential area arguing it was not under any obligation to provide services to that section.
The residents said the council had declined to provide them with litter bins and when they sourced their own bins, the local authority refused to collect them saying the Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle housing scheme fell under government.
At a recent consultative meeting held at Chitsanga Hall, town secretary Charles Muchatukwa told the beneficiaries council was not obliged to offer any services to the Garikai houses since the project fell outside council’s jurisdiction.
He said council would only provide services to the houses if or when government formally handed over the properties to the local authority.
“Murambatsvina is not council’s project and we have no obligation to offer the demanded services by beneficiaries. We will only do that if we are given the green light by government who are the owners of the project,” Muchatukwa said.
Government hurriedly built the houses in 2007 following a massive demolition of sub-standard housing structures in most urban centres.
Most of the houses took long before they were connected to the councils’ sewer and water reticulation systems as government and local authorities haggled over ownership of the scheme.
Last month, the Environmental Management Authority (Ema) threatened to penalise the council for the mess at the Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle housing scheme but later backtracked after being advised that the properties had not yet been handed over to the local authority.
“We are very aware of the situation at the housing scheme, but we don’t know who to face at the moment. We feel sorry for the beneficiaries because they are sitting on a health time bomb,” Ema’s district health officer for Chiredzi, Peter Mugodhi, told NewsDay in an interview at the weekend.