THE Local Government ministry will soon bring before Parliament the Housing Development Act to protect the public against unscrupulous extortionist land developers who have been swindling people of their money by offering non-existent residential stands.
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This was said yesterday by Local Government secretary Killian Mupingo when he appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Local Government chaired by Mutasa South MP Irene Zindi.
“There is a housing backlog of 1,5 million people and our capacity to deliver has been very low resulting in 75% of housing land being in the hands of co-
operatives,” Mupingo said.
“Due to the mushrooming of illegal developers who are extortionists, the ministry is developing a Housing Development Act to be brought before Parliament to protect the public against extortionist and insatiable land developers as people have been swindled including civil servants.”
Mupingo said drafting of the Provincial Councils Bill was also complete and it was now set to go to through the Cabinet Committee on Legislation and the
Attorney-General’s Office before it was brought before Parliament. He said provincial councils would be constituted early next year as there was need to create enabling legislation to operationalise them.
On demolition of illegal structures, Mupingo said a 24-member team had been working with Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo and were yet to present the final report to him.
“The report will be presented to the minister and then to Cabinet for deliberations before decisions on the interventions to take are made,” he said.
Harare West MP Jessie Majome demanded to know if the ministry would help local authorities with working capital following a government directive a few months ago compelling them to write-off residents’ utility debts.
Mupingo said cancellation was necessary as the debts had been owed for three to four years and it was evident that residents were unable to pay. “The 5% budget allocation to councils as provided for in the Constitution should help spruce up the budget for local authorities,” he said.
Civil Protection Unit director Madzudzo Pawadyira also appeared before the committee and told the legislators that his department was incapacitated to deal with emergency situations due to unavailability of resources.
He said there were only three local authorities which could deliver instruments for fighting disasters — Harare, Bulawayo and Kwekwe — adding if for example there was a disaster in Beitbridge, manpower and equipment from Bulawayo would have to travel long distances to attend the accident scene.