Hwange residents, HLB fight over stands

Source: Hwange residents, HLB fight over stands | Newsday (News)

BY NIZBERT MOYO

HWANGE residents have filed an application at the Hwange Magistrates Court seeking to bar Hwange Local Board (HLB) from allowing certain classes of people to construct houses on their stands while others are not allowed.

Residents said HLB offered subsidised housing stands to the homeseekers, classified as low income in Empumalanga West, adding that beneficiaries were expected to pay US$50 per month for five years into a housing revolving fund account towards the purchase and servicing of the stands.

They said the total value of the stand was US$3 045, indicating that they should not begin developing the superstructure on the said stand until 50% of the cost of the stand has been paid.

In the application, Greater Whange Residents Trust and Washington Mberikwazvo are the applicants while HLB is cited as the respondent.

In their affidavit, the applicants submitted that the respondent’s actions allowing a certain class of people to go ahead with construction while others are not allowed to do so were heavy-handed and
illegal.

“We seek the assistance of this honourable court to push the respondent towards fulfilling its obligation as stipulated in the objectives mentioned in the preamble to the construction agreement to: Cherish freedom, equality, peace, justice, tolerance, prosperity and patriotism in search of new frontiers under a common destiny,’’ the affidavit in part read.

“What is in dispute in the present case, as frequently the case in disputes concerning the housing, is the way the respondent conducted itself along the way towards protecting and promoting the homeseekers’ rights.

“The respondent has disappointed the stand owners by barring them from constructing superstructures despite the fact that most of them have paid more than half the total value of the stand.

“The respondent has also unilaterally concluded contracts with third parties without exclusively consulting the homeseekers of Empumalanga West.”

Residents indicated that in 2017, HLB engaged the Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ) to service the stands, adding that the memorandum of understanding between the board and the bank remains unknown to most of the beneficiaries.

They said there were 2 135 stands on offer, adding that all homeseekers were ordered to deposit their outstanding balances with IDBZ through a BancABC account number 75600076590008.

Residents said what surprised them was that churches and the board’s employees were exempted from the IDBZ arrangement without any explanation.

They prayed for the court to stop HLB from discriminating against some of the homeseekers. HLB is yet to respond to the application.

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