Sithatshisiwe Vuma, Sunday News Reporter

THE Bulawayo City Council is on a collission course with thousands of people who bought stands from it more than five years ago and are still to be allocated their pieces of land.

Some of the beneficiaries have started expressing displeasure through demonstrations, court cases and engaging the Government. The local authority introduced a pre-sale residential stands scheme in 2016 where more than 5 000 stands were availed in different suburbs.

According to the agreement, prospective stand owners who were on the housing waiting list were made to pay 35 percent of the selling price as down payment plus 15 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) while the rest of the money was to be paid in 18 months. Most prospective stand owners who were on the housing waiting list were made to pay a deposit of about US$3 000. Council was then supposed to hand over the stands after 18 months.

However, some of the contractors that BCC engaged failed to complete the servicing of the stands resulting in council failing to hand over the stands to beneficiaries. Some of the cases have been taken for arbitration but some of the beneficiaries feel they are being short changed.

“My agreement was with council and I paid the whole amount in cash in US dollars. I even have the receipt where they were noting serial numbers of the dollars I paid. Why should we suffer from a dispute created by council and the contractor whom they chose themselves after doing their homework? They chose the contractors and that has nothing to do with us,” said a beneficiary from Magwegwe West.

Another beneficiary said council has been hiding behind the arbitration issue.

“Some of the beneficiaries have died before they could even see their stands but they paid every cent. We are taking our case to the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission to look into it.”

In Emganwini,  stand owners have approached the Government to intervene. Two week ago, they stormed Nketa Housing Office and demonstrated over the stands. A representative of the beneficiaries Mr Bigboy Ndlovu, told Sunday News that they had opted to approach Government as they believed council has failed to solve their case.

He said they wrote to the Provincial Development Coordinator, Mr Paul Nyoni, last Thursday, seeking his audience on the issue following recommendations from the office of the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution for Bulawayo Metropolitan Province.

“We engaged legal representatives to contact BCC requesting a meeting but the local authority is yet to respond and this left us with no option but to escalate the matter to Government who we feel might be sympathetic to our plight,” said Mr Ndlovu.

However, BCC in a letter through their lawyers Coghlan and Welsh said the arbitration process (between council and contractors) was delayed by the Covid-19 lockdown.

“We had the pre-arbitration meeting on the 8th of April 2021 where we agreed on all these issues and the timelines which will culminate in the Arbitral Award. In other words, the Arbitral Process has now started in earnest,” read part of the letter.

However, beneficiaries said Covid-19 only came last year, almost four years after the council was supposed to have handed over the stands.

“We feel that we must now gang up and demand what is ours,” said another beneficiary.

Among the stands that council has failed to provide after receiving full payment include Magwegwe West (494), Emganwini (366), Tshabalala Extension (44), and Southwold (11). Council also received deposits for stands in Pumula South (275) and Highmount (217).

Share this:

" />
Published On: Mon, May 24th, 2021

Stand owners report BCC to Government

Share This
Tags

Sithatshisiwe Vuma, Sunday News Reporter

THE Bulawayo City Council is on a collission course with thousands of people who bought stands from it more than five years ago and are still to be allocated their pieces of land.

Some of the beneficiaries have started expressing displeasure through demonstrations, court cases and engaging the Government. The local authority introduced a pre-sale residential stands scheme in 2016 where more than 5 000 stands were availed in different suburbs.

According to the agreement, prospective stand owners who were on the housing waiting list were made to pay 35 percent of the selling price as down payment plus 15 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) while the rest of the money was to be paid in 18 months. Most prospective stand owners who were on the housing waiting list were made to pay a deposit of about US$3 000. Council was then supposed to hand over the stands after 18 months.

However, some of the contractors that BCC engaged failed to complete the servicing of the stands resulting in council failing to hand over the stands to beneficiaries. Some of the cases have been taken for arbitration but some of the beneficiaries feel they are being short changed.

“My agreement was with council and I paid the whole amount in cash in US dollars. I even have the receipt where they were noting serial numbers of the dollars I paid. Why should we suffer from a dispute created by council and the contractor whom they chose themselves after doing their homework? They chose the contractors and that has nothing to do with us,” said a beneficiary from Magwegwe West.

Another beneficiary said council has been hiding behind the arbitration issue.

“Some of the beneficiaries have died before they could even see their stands but they paid every cent. We are taking our case to the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission to look into it.”

In Emganwini,  stand owners have approached the Government to intervene. Two week ago, they stormed Nketa Housing Office and demonstrated over the stands. A representative of the beneficiaries Mr Bigboy Ndlovu, told Sunday News that they had opted to approach Government as they believed council has failed to solve their case.

He said they wrote to the Provincial Development Coordinator, Mr Paul Nyoni, last Thursday, seeking his audience on the issue following recommendations from the office of the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution for Bulawayo Metropolitan Province.

“We engaged legal representatives to contact BCC requesting a meeting but the local authority is yet to respond and this left us with no option but to escalate the matter to Government who we feel might be sympathetic to our plight,” said Mr Ndlovu.

However, BCC in a letter through their lawyers Coghlan and Welsh said the arbitration process (between council and contractors) was delayed by the Covid-19 lockdown.

“We had the pre-arbitration meeting on the 8th of April 2021 where we agreed on all these issues and the timelines which will culminate in the Arbitral Award. In other words, the Arbitral Process has now started in earnest,” read part of the letter.

However, beneficiaries said Covid-19 only came last year, almost four years after the council was supposed to have handed over the stands.

“We feel that we must now gang up and demand what is ours,” said another beneficiary.

Among the stands that council has failed to provide after receiving full payment include Magwegwe West (494), Emganwini (366), Tshabalala Extension (44), and Southwold (11). Council also received deposits for stands in Pumula South (275) and Highmount (217).

About the Author

-

error: Content is protected !!

Stand owners report BCC to Government