The Herald (Harare)

26 November 2012

Zimbabwe: City to Carry Audit On Mbare Hostels

Harare City Council is carrying an audit of the Mbare Hostels to establish the lease-holders of the close to 5 500 apartments.

More than 50 000 people reside in the dilapidated structures that are ranked as part of Harare's 37 slum settlements.

The apartments were originally built for migrant bachelor workers.

Third parties now stay in the apartments and pay rentals to individuals or their families who were allocated the apartments before independence or after independence.

According to the latest full council minutes, the city resolved to embark on an exercise to establish registered tenants.

"Efforts be also undertaken to establish the registered tenants of the hostels," reads part of the minutes.

The city reiterated its call to have the hostels renovated. Previous efforts to spruce up the hostels have been met with resistance by individuals who do not stay in the apartments.

Some of the people resisting the upgrading of the hostels stay in upmarket suburbs.

Hostel residents want their homes upgraded to add decency to their living standards.

Efforts to use the US$5 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to upgrade the hostels were rejected by some activists who wanted shareholding in the project.

The programme would have led to the construction of new apartments and the decamping of the existing ones into the new structures.

The city was then faced with a problem of relocating excess families elsewhere.

Town clerk Dr Tendai Mahachi gave an update on the progress in enforcing the payment of bills by the residents.

He reported that he engaged with the leadership of Mbare residents to appraise them on the need to pay bills.

Dr Mahachi said the residents agreed to make individual arrangements to settle their outstanding bills. He said council had temporarily shelved plans to install prepaid water meters for the apartments.

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