The housing waiting list for Marondera has now passed the 20 000 mark with indications that the figure could be more than double if all those in need of residential stands in the farming town register on the list.
For one to register to be on the council’s waiting list, they pay RTGS15 and the same amount has to be paid on an annual basis until one gets a residential stand.
There has been a public outcry from some residents who do not own stands, who have been alleging that the council is giving first preference to people from other towns, notably Harare when it comes to stands allocation.
In 2017, Marondera residents threatened to hold a demonstration at Marondera Town Council demanding the local authority explain the whereabouts of money paid for stands a few years ago.
Council reportedly collected $1 500 from each home seeker promising to give people stands at Elmswood outside Marondera town.
Initially, the home seekers were made to pay $511 before they were told to add another $1 000 for the stands.
However, Marondera Mayor Chengetai Murowa said they were doing their best to make sure that the issue of housing shortage in the town is addressed and also called for those on the waiting list to pay the annual fee for them to be given first preference whenever council identifies and service land for residential stands.
“As a council, we want our residents to be owners of stands and those on the waiting list must always pay their annual subscriptions. Some people have a tendency of only registering to be on the waiting list but that alone won’t be enough.
“Only last month, we allocated more than 100 stands in Elmswood to those who were on the waiting list and had their annual subscriptions up-to-date. Those who benefited also paid a deposit of RTGS1.800,” said the Mayor.
He also said as part of efforts to address the issue of housing challenges in the town, plans to renovate Hwata and Mbizi flats in the high density of Dombotombo were also in the pipeline.
The health, housing and community services chaired by Size Vilela recently recommended that the committee should visit Harare and Mutare councils for a look-and-learn trip so that they get an appreciation of other programmes on urban renewal with a view to replicate the same.
Apart from the Elmoswood housing project, the council is also working on the proposed Chitepo high-density layout plan which will soon be submitted to the Ministry of Local Government’s department of physical planning for Ministerial approval in terms of Section 205 of the Urban Councils Act (Chapter 29:15).
At a recent full council meeting, Deputy Mayor Boniface Tagwirei said councillors should be given an opportunity to assist residents in their wards to be allocated residential stands.
In the same meeting, Mayor Murowa suggested that the local authority should have a scheme that accommodates the poor who would be in need of stands and implored the town’s director of housing Justine Chivavaya to take note.