HARARE City Council (HCC) will take over the “chaotic” settlement east of the capital known as Caledonia, with the mammoth task of sanitizing an area where all town and country planning rules have been defied, Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni told Parliament last week.
Source: Harare takes over Caledonia chaos – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 6, 2017
Manyenyeni told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Local Government led by Zanu PF’s Irene Zindi that there were at least 30 000 households occupying stands, a majority of them acquired through corrupt land barons who gave people land in undesignated areas, and in a chaotic manner that they forgot Caledonia ought to have roads and schools.
“Normalising a settlement of this size (Caledonia) will need a lot of funding and technical skills. For the future period of Caledonia we expect better workmanship in terms of bridges and sewers,” Manyenyeni said.
Acting town clerk, Josephine Ncube said once Caledonia was incorporated under HCC, all plans would have to be approved by the capital city’s authorities.
“Our engineers have to monitor and supervise work so that we do not end up with substandard infrastructure. HCC will collect revenue from Caledonia from rates, submission of building plans, refuse collection, and water once it is connected,” Ncube said.
Glen Norah MP Webster Maondera said it will be unfair for HCC, which was grappling with its basic obligations including salaries, to take over Caledonia.
“I think it is not fair to take money from HCC and put it into developing Caledonia,” Maondera said, arguing there had been plunder of cooperatives in the area.
But Manyenyeni said precedence had already been set elsewhere, arguing instead “Caledonia should be declared a disaster.”
He said council would have to demolish sub-standard structures, adding political parties were abating the chaos in the slum. Manyenyeni added Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere had used a political rally to announce that he “knew the land barons.”
Small and Medium Enterprises minister Sithembiso Nyoni has defended the existence of housing cooperatives in Parliament.
Nyoni however, acknowledged challenges within cooperatives as well as the political hand at play.
“Most co-operatives are composed of members from low income earners and there is often political interference through various political groups. There is also unprocedural land allocations by cooperatives by land barons,” Nyoni said giving Chitungwiza as an example.
Nyoni also accused the Urban Development Corporation (Udcorp) which was initially given mandate to sanitise Caledonia of corruption and embezzling funds.
“We need an independent board of enquiry to go into Caledonia to come up with the truth. UDCORP is going into cooperatives’ accounts and taking money from them, and that is not allowed in the Cooperatives Act,” she said.
Caledonia is currently under the jurisdiction of the Goromonzi Rural District Council but hordes of party activists, land barons and housing cooperatives a few years ago invaded the area parceling it amongst themselves without proper infrastructure in place.