Cowdray Park residents risk losing houses

MORE than 700 Cowdray Park residents who benefited from the
Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle houses risk losing the properties after they
received a communique from Government ordering them to pay $4 000 for the

The residents are, however, refusing to pay the amount saying they have
fully paid for the houses and have since formed a committee to engage the
Government to get clarity on the issue.

The residents said they were afraid they might be forced out of the
properties if they failed to pay the required money but hinted that most
of the houses were not complete and they had to develop them from whatever
level they were.

This comes after more than 700 families with houses in the suburb early
this year received letters from the Ministry of Local Government, Public
Works, Rural and Urban Development directing them to pay $4 000 for the
houses, indicating that the money they paid in the past was for rentals.

Bulawayo Ward 28 councillor, Collette Ndhlovu, said the committee was
awaiting a response from the Government to map the way forward.

“We have formed a committee with residents to engage the Government to
resolve the issue because the money they are demanding is more than the
money which they have already paid. If you look at it closely you will
realise that the money which the residents have paid is more than $12 000
and a two-roomed house is way less than that. We are still waiting for the
response from Harare to clarify on that so that we can see what to do,” he

The residents alleged that when they were initially allocated the houses
they were told to pay $15 a month, which was meant to pay the builders, a
figure which later increased to $50.

In 2014 they were told to stop paying that figure to the Government since
the project had since been handed over to council.

When they were allocated the houses, they were told that they own them and
they only needed to pay monthly fees for builders.

“Residents have been paying the money since 2005 and how much do you think
this will amount to? In the meantime I have ordered residents not to pay
the money until the Government responds to the petition which we sent them
as the residents,” said Clr Ndhlovu.

One of the residents who identified himself as Mr Sibanda said he was not
going to pay the money until he gets answers.

“I am not going to pay the money until we get answers. Why did they tell
us to stop paying the money in the first place and then later on say we
owe, it really does not make sense, something is very wrong here,” said Mr