THE Infrastructural Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ) says it is going ahead with its plans to construct a hostel for National University of Science and Technology (NUST) students at Selbourne Park in Bulawayo despite protests by local residents who claim the facility will reduce the value of their properties.
by NQOBANI NDLOVU
Residents claim the construction of the hostel by property developer, Zimre Property Investment, will not only devalue their properties, but will also fuel “moral decadence among their children through associating with NUST students”.
Residents at a recent stakeholders meeting on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) demanded that the hostel must be constructed elsewhere outside Selbourne Park.
The IDBZ in a notice however said the long-term benefits of constructing the hostel would outweigh residents’ short-term concerns.
“With regard concerns from residents of suburbs within which the students housing facilities will be located, some of whom are currently providing students with accommodation as landlords, we are confident the long-term benefits of the investments in students’ accommodation facilities for tertiary institutions will far outweigh the short-term concerns or perceived loss of income.
“The bank will however take into account the concerns of residents and, where merited, mitigate these as far as is possible without hindering the delivery of affordable accommodation to students,” the IDBZ said in a notice.
The proposed hostel is to be constructed adjacent to Masiyephambili Junior School to accommodate NUST students batting accommodation challenges. NUST can only accommodate nearly 2 000 students out of the about 7 000 enrolled at the higher learning institution.
A recent NUST annual report said out-of-campus rented accommodation remains a problem for students, as they continuously clashed with landlords over rentals.
“The project is part of the bank’s contribution towards addressing the challenges of decent and affordable accommodation for tertiary and university students. The facility will be open to students from all tertiary institutions in and around Bulawayo,” IDBZ added.