HARARE City Council has said it will not reverse its ban on housing co-operatives despite pronouncements by Small-to-Medium Enterprises minister Sithembiso Nyoni, who last week said the co-operatives remained legal and should continue developing housing stands.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
Mayor Benard Manyenyeni said Harare was an authority on its own and had powers to decide how to conduct its business.
“We are not banning co-operatives from existence. The minister can register as many as her ministry wants, but we are not going to allocate them land,” he said.
“How we deal with our land is our business. We have an obligation to ensure that standards are maintained and people are protected from unscrupulous land dealers and her ministry has its own obligation.”
Nyoni last week told a Press conference, attended by housing co-operative representatives, that the co-operatives remained legal and would continue to be registered by her ministry because there was no change in policy.
“I am in charge of co-operatives . . . I administer the Act and at the end of the day, I am the one in charge and if I do not pronounce a change that comes either through Parliament or Government Gazette, any utterances on that matter are null and void,” she said.
Nyoni said co-operatives have made a significant contribution to the economy and should, therefore, be promoted and supported by all sectors of the economy.
She was responding to earlier claims by Local Government deputy minister Christopher Mungosho, who announced a blanket ban on all housing co-operatives.
Chingosho announced last month that his ministry had banned all housing co-operatives and was now using Udcorp, a parastatal, to service land for housing development in a bid to protect desperate homeseekers from being swindled of their cash in shady land deals.