Harare housing waiting list: Residents speak out

Harare residents have amplified their dissenting voices over alleged corruption by the Harare City Council (HCC) officials in the allocation of stands for those on the waiting list.

Following our report on Monday wherein we stated that the list was ballooning and HCC had proposed to increase waiting list fee to ZWL600, our newsroom has been inundated with calls from residents who claimed to have been duped by some officials.

Residents complained that the Harare City Council is failing to play its public service role because it does not provide transparency; they are allocating stands to the people who are not even on the waiting list.

“We demand transparency and accountability hence our call for responsible authorities to ensure that the law takes its course and culprits of corruption and abuse of public funds are brought to book”

“They are now adopting the first come first serve tendency; the HCC should respect residents’ rights and follow the legal route in the allocation of stands.

“I was made to pay some fee and promised that in six months I will be allocated a stand on an infill but it’s now two years,” lamented a lady who rents a cottage in Waterfalls.

Another resident said she was allocated a stands which had already  been allocated to another person.

“Double allocation of stands by these officials is also another cause of concern.

“Imagine after waiting for two years , I am allocated a stand which belongs to someone else and the person told me straight in my face that he bribed an official and I am consulting my lawyers now,” said another angry resident.a

According to last year’s statistics, at least half a million home seekers  registered with the Harare City Council’s waiting list, in a city that has seen continued land invasions sometimes at the instigation of politicians in the  past few years.

 There is also an issue of kickbacks being given to city officials, it is alleged.

Harare Residents Trust director Precious Shumba weighed in on  Monday  and said that there is lack of transparency and accountability from ratepayers’ money.

“The City Council has become a black market of criminals and residents do not even know where their monies are going.

 “It has become a commercial entity instead of it playing a public service role hence exploitation of the poor.

So if you can’t afford their proposed amount for waiting list allowance then its pure exploitation

 Town Clerk Engineer Hosiah Chisango has confirmed there is housing backlog and  the city was aiming to clear it by 2030.

 “Our current housing list is 151 000,but we need to look at the list as there are many people who benefited from our various housing schemes that were on offer, including from cooperatives,” he told a local publication..

 HCC communications manager Michael Chideme told this reporter that he was seeking consultations from relevant departments to give us correct statistics.