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By Staff Reporter
MUTARE residents and ratepayers have pleaded with the local authority to stop parcelling out land to private land developers among whom are unscrupulous land barons who have fleeced desperate home seekers of their hard-earned cash in the past few years.
The residents made the plea during the supplementary and 2021 budget consultation meeting recently in the city.
This follows a number of controversial housing projects such as Gimbok and Federation which left many home seekers trapped on unserviced land after land developers disappeared with their cash.
Stakeholders who attended the meeting said council should engage in public private partnership with reputable land developers to ensure that residents have access to affordable residential stand.
They complained that over the years they lost substantial amounts of money to land developers some who never completed their projects.
Enddy Ziyera from United Mutare Residents and Ratepayers Trust (UMRRT) said the municipality should stop parcelling out land to developers who go on to extort innocent residents.
“We want council to stop parcelling out land to land developers. Council should service the land and sell to home seekers at affordable prices. These developers have duped a number of home seekers and we want this put to an end,” said Ziyera.
Another resident said all the state land should be transferred to local authorities to ensure that those on the housing waiting list have access to land.
“I don’t see the reason why private developers are given land. They hold us to ransom and extort money from us. We want them to partner the local authorities and select beneficiaries from the waiting list,” said the resident who attended the meeting.
Victor Mutero from Dangamvura high density suburb said information about land distribution should be made public so ratepayers could know who the beneficiaries were.
“There is a huge gap between local authorities and citizens in particular reference to information about land.
“To put to rest perceptions and misconceptions, it is worthwhile for local authorities to consider publishing through websites and social media platforms such critical information,” said Mutero.
City council Finance Director said Mutare was also fighting to ensure that State land was handed to the local authority to ensure its fair and equal distribution to stakeholders.
“This is our wish to see State land being given to council to ensure provision of housing to its stakeholders, “said Chafesuka.
“We have inherited some projects and we have managed to service three areas this year and we are moving into Beira. We happy that we are trying to complete the few projects left around the city,” said the finance director.
Meanwhile, Mutare United Residents Association (MURA) director David Mutambirwa applauded the improved information dissemination and efficiency on refuse collection by the local authority but urged it to make use of its ancillary assets and properties for supplementary revenue flows.
He added that lack of consistent auditing of municipal accounts affected the transparency and accountability of councils.
“Residents are also left with no yardstick to access the transparency of council finances. Inevitably, such an environment feeds into misconceptions and allegations of financial misuse in councils,” said Mutambirwa.
City of Mutare is proposing a US$33 million 2021 budget to meet service delivery concerns.
This will be approximately $2.5 billion (RTGS), using the official foreign exchange auction rate of US$1: $77 ZW this week.
This would be a massive upsurge from the 2019 budget of $31.1 million (RTGS), depicting how hyperinflation has fast become erosive.