Blessings Chidakwa Municipal Correspondent
Harare City Council has suspended the allocation of housing stands to facilitate the automation of the housing waiting list.
The decision comes after the arrest of top officials on corruption and abuse of office charges and this is the second time council has suspended the allocation of stands in as many weeks after it did the same on June 8.
The process for one to acquire a stand in Harare has been raising eyebrows over the years with the local authority issuing offer letters without stamps, making it easy for officials to duplicate the document sometimes leading to double allocations.
In a statement yesterday, acting Harare Mayor councillor Enock Mupamawonde said council business will continue despite the arrest of Mayor Herbert Gomba and senior management staffers like housing director Addmore Nhekairo and former acting housing director Matthew Marara.
“The investigations that unearthed irregularities in the management of housing land were instituted internally and as your acting mayor, I reassure you that the due process with regard to the investigations will continue.
“Meanwhile, all housing stand allocations are suspended until the automation of the allocation system, which should be completed soon,” he said.
Interestingly, council said it was inviting information and technology experts to review and assist in the automation of the housing allocation systems “free” of charge.
Cllr Mupamawonde also said council has since re-organised its departments with the appointment of acting directors in the housing and human capital departments.
Mr Fani Machipisa and Mr Bozman Matengarufu are the acting housing and human capital directors respectively.
Scheduled council, committee and management meetings will now be held virtually across the board.
Harare Residents Trust (HRT) director Mr Precious Shumba said the City of Harare has been exposed as institutionally weak to cleanse itself of corruption.
“It was supposed to have acted on land scandal report in 2019, but the mayor and senior council officials ignored it. It has to be resubmitted for action.”
Mr Shumba said the councillors should be showing leadership and reorganise their committees to rid themselves of the influence of the suspects.
Zimbabwe National Organisation of Associations and Residents Trust, Mr Shepherd Chikomba said as residents they have lost faith in the councillors.
“We want all the councillors to be suspended pending investigations and an overhaul in all the departments especially the housing and accounts departments,” he said.