CASH-STRAPPED Harare City Council has been forced to slash rentals for its Mbare hostels from $67 to $10 per month after over
70 000 tenants, led by Zanu PF activists, staying in the hostels refused to pay claiming the charges were too high.
BY MOSES MATENGA
Council spokesperson Michael Chideme confirmed the development saying: “Following pleas and requests by people from Mbare hostels over their poor living conditions, they requested council to reduce rentals and we have complied.”
Chideme added: “They now pay $10 rentals to council. What we have done is they pay their electricity to Zesa and water directly to council. 10% of the revenue generated from council-rented properties will be retained to upgrade the facilities.”
Investigations by NewsDay at most of the flats, namely Shawasha, Nenyere, Matererini and others, showed that council had almost lost ownership of the properties with flats meant for one person now accommodating about nine people, further straining the city’s water and sewer reticulation system.
Most of the tenants were unemployed and survive on menial jobs like vending, making it difficult for them to pay rentals.
Most water pipes at the hostels have been vandalised, forcing the tenants to rely on contaminated water from Mukuvisi River.