Over 700 families may lose their homes unless they find $4000 to pay the government. The families were allocated the houses in Cowdray Park, Bulawayo under operation Hlalani Kuhle/Garikai housing scheme.
The families received letters from the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing informing them that they had to pay $ 3 920 each as well as $1 200 each, to own the houses and as accrued rentals respectively. All prior payments which had been made were said to be rentals.
The families disputed this saying they had never been lodgers because they built the houses on their own and installed electricity on their own. A resident’s representative said:
Honestly, for someone to tell us that all along we were lodgers does not make sense at all. We installed electricity on our own, we are also contributing towards the servicing of roads in the area. We are not going to pay anything because we know someone wants to steal from us. They cannot even evict us because we developed the incomplete houses which they gave us
Councillor Collet Ndhlovu said:
If you remember this project was done through a donation of land which the Government received from the council and it was meant for the poor who could not afford to purchase housing stands. Now, where does the Government think these people will get the money? I am sure that all this is from someone trying to paint the Government in a bad light.