GOVERNMRNT has not paid a cent for the stands it was allocated by the Bulawayo city council under Operation Garikai/Hlalakani kuhle, the Zimbabwe Independent has established.
At the beginning of July government announced it had been allocated over a thousand stands for the reconstruction programme by the council but did not indicate whether the stands were a donation or they were to be paid for.
However, it emerged this week that the council allocated only 360 stands against 1 002 that government said it would develop in Bulawayo.
The Bulawayo city council’s director of housing and community services, Isaiah Magagula, confirmed this week that government had not yet paid for the 360 stands.
“We allocated 360 stands to government in line with Operation Garikai/Hlalani kuhle, but government is yet to pay for the stands and we are not sure when that will be,” Magagula said.
Pressed to give the estimated cost of each stand, Magagula said a single stand cost in the region of $6 million but that this could be two-fold.
“Currently the council does not have an exact figure but the standard price for a 200 square metre stand was $6 million for the last lot that we had. Now it might have doubled or gone beyond that,” Magagula said.
The latest revelation follows government plans to channel trillions of dollars into housing projects to resettle thousands of Zimbabweans displaced under its widely condemned Operation Murambatsvina.
Magagula also revealed that Operation Garikai/Hlalani kuhle would benefit only those people on the council’s housing waiting list when it comes to the allocation of stands.
“Only those who had been living in illegal structures and were on the council’s waiting list will get stands,” said Magagula.
Operation Garikai/Hlalani kuhle is an ambitious project by government to provide accommodation for thousands of people left homeless countrywide by its clean-up exercise.