SMALL and Medium Enterprises permanent secretary Evelyn Ndlovu yesterday accused land developers of shortchanging housing co-operatives through failure to develop residential stands.
She told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Small and Medium Enterprises chaired by Gokwe MP Dorothy Mhangami that some politically driven co-operatives were resisting change of leadership and were difficult to audit and monitor.
“About 12 housing co-operatives lean on politics and on Wednesday the Minister of Small and Medium Enterprises Stembiso Nyoni read the riot act and said they should adhere to what is stipulated in the Co-operative Societies Act in terms of running their co-operatives so that there is proper monitoring and auditing of their books of accounts,” said Ndlovu.
“We have discovered that land developers have messed up co-
operatives whereby they have lost their land to them or they have paid them and they failed to develop the land.”
Ndlovu said the land developers were at times given the green light to take over land belonging to co-operatives by the Ministry of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development.
“Most of the infrastructure like sewer and water is the responsibility of government,” said the permanent secretary.
“However, poor people in co-operatives contribute money to develop land, and then land developers come with letters from Local Government saying they have been given authority to take over the land because co-operatives were taking long to develop it. We have intervened as a ministry and tried to negotiate with the Ministry of Local Government to ensure land developers do not take over,” she said.
Housing co-operatives which were said to be disorderly and leaning on politics are Sally Mugabe, Herbert Chitepo, Pungwe Chimurenga, Ngungubane, Nehanda, Zvakatanga Sekuseka, Zanoremba, Kugarika Kushinga, 21st Century and Border Gezi.
Challenges that housing co-operatives were said to face included failure to hold annual general meetings and elections that have resulting in lack of leadership renewal.
“Management committee are sub-dividing plots allocated and selling those stands without knowledge of co-operative members resulting in double allocations of stands. There is lack of meaningful stand development for a long period while continuously collecting subscriptions from members, abuse of funds, unprocedural expulsion of members and victimisation of those who are knowledgeable of the Act and by-laws,” Ndlovu said.
She said there were 40 cases of disposal of stands by co-operatives without authority.