Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has approved the sale of housing stands in foreign currency, a move that is set to make them priced out of reach of many citizens, who have endured falling standards of life over the years.
The city’s housing waiting list stands at over 120 000, but the council has only managed to service less than 20 000 stands in the last 15 years despite the growing number of those in need of houses.
The local authority is reportedly struggling to service housing stands, owing to the harsh economic climate that has been prevailing in the country.
The latest council report of the town lands and housing committee revealed a local authority that is battling to contain the hard economic situation.
“The Chamber Secretary (Sikhangele Zhou) advised that it was a challenge to award new contracts to service stands due to economic challenges. Servicing of stands in this environment would be costly and difficult to price the stands,” the minutes read in part.
“At the end of the day, the stands would be unaffordable because of the continued economic instability.
“Council had to re-strategies on how best to deliver this service within enforceable contracts that would deliver stands affordable to local residents,” added the minutes.
“She (Zhou) noted that council had already approved the sale of stands to the Diaspora and those with free funds in forex and modalities therefore are being worked on.”
Council housing stands have been ranging from around $4 000 to nearly $10 000 and above depending on the size, and location.
In reaction to the move, Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association acting co-ordinator Emmanuel Ndlovu said the move was improper.
“Those in the Diaspora and with access to US dollars will mop up all the stands while the poor shall remain permanent tenants.
“Many residents cannot afford stands even using the bond note price,” Ndlovu said.