AT least 100 residents from Bulawayo’s Emganwini suburb’s Millennium Housing Scheme last Friday besieged the city council’s administration offices in Nketa demanding title deeds for their properties and a reduction of their monthly rates.
Report by Blondie Ndebele
The residents accused council of charging exorbitant rates and holding on to their property title deeds when the housing scheme, built by an Australian donor agency, was meant to cater for the poor.
“The council is charging very high rates yet they are not even checking the poverty datum line of the people living at Millennium houses,” said one resident.
“We were moved from Sidojiwe in 2002 and most of these people are senior citizens that cannot afford the amounts that the council wants them to pay.”
Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) area chairperson Mandula Ncube said the demonstration was aimed at forcing council to review its rates.
“This demonstration is therefore an attempt to get the attention of the council on this issue so that something is done to immediately solve the problem,” Ncube said.
“If nothing happens after this, we are mobilising some more residents to demonstrate at the City Hall against the mayor.”
In their petition to Bulawayo Mayor Thaba Moyo, the residents said: “We hereby demand for dialogue with BCC officials to give us an explanation as to why we have not been given ownership of the millennium houses. We also appeal reduction of rentals as we feel that this amount is exorbitant.”
Ward councilor Norman Hlabani said the issue of rentals and home ownership was still pending.
“The issue is in the pipeline between the residents and the council. There are matters that the council is still yet to deal with before they can help these residents,” he said.