Sunday News Reporters
MORE than 3 000 home seekers have applied to be considered for just 735 stands that were availed by the Bulawayo City Council recently with the successful applicants to be announced at the end of this month.
The council last month availed 502 stands in Emhlangeni medium density suburb and 233 high density stands in Pumula South and invited people to apply before being considered.
In an interview, council spokesperson Mrs Nesisa Mpofu said 3 246 applications were received and the council was also considering to avail more land to meet the growing demand for stands.
“The City of Bulawayo received 3 246 applicants in total. Emhlangeni had 1 709 and Pumula South had 1 537 applicants respectively. There is high demand for residential stands that outstrips supply,” she said.
Mrs Mpofu said those whose applications were successful would be announced at the end of this month.
“Stands availability is an on-going process, once the next lot of stands is ready we will notify the public accordingly,” said Mrs Mpofu.
Bulawayo’s housing backlog has topped 100 000 and the figure continues to grow.
Meanwhile, the Government has appointed a commission to oversee the running of the Bulawayo to prevent the creation of a vacuum before newly elected councillors are sworn-in.
The commission will be working hand-in-hand with the Town Clerk, Mr Christopher Dube, who will not have any powers to sign off any resolution without the approval of the commission.
Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister, Cde July Moyo confirmed the development but could not give the full list of the three commissioners for the city.
He only said one of them was Provincial Administrator, Mrs Khonzani Ncube.
“As you might know we have a vacuum with the councillors not yet sworn in, so to avoid corruption and council officials doing as they will, we have appointed commissioners in all the councils. According to the Urban Councils Act town clerks work with mayors so now what we have done, where the mayor is meant to sign, one of the commissioners can sign. We don’t want a scenario where the town clerks can do as they will, we will find stands having been distributed willy-nilly.
“Further we want to maintain the integrity of the council and avoid the creation of an unnecessary vacuum. We want a scenario where council management has someone they can refer for checks and balances. As for Bulawayo commissioners I do not have them off hand as I am not in the office, but I can confirm that the Provincial Administrator (Ms Khonzani Ncube) is definitely part of the commissioners,” he said.
Sunday News also understands that the Government has appointed interim commissioners for all local authorities to run urban and rural councils in the absence of a full council.
The commissioners comprise experts, academics, businesspeople, traditional leaders and Government officials.
In a letter addressed to provincial Administrators dated 27 July 2018, from Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Mr George Magosvongwe, the appointed commissioners will run the affairs of the local authorities until the new councillors are sworn in.
The commissioners were appointed in terms of Section 158 of the Rural District Councils Act Chapter 29:13 and Section 80 of the Urban Councils Act Chapter 29:15 which provide that local authorities will be provided over by commissioners prior to the swearing in of the new councillors.
“His Excellency the President has proclaimed that the dissolution of the current parliament of Zimbabwe is slated for 29 July 2018. The proclamation is in terms of Section 143 (1) of the constitution which states that Parliament stands dissolved at mid night on the day before the polling day.
“In this regard the term of office for all councillors ends on the same day. Section 143 of the constitution as read with Section 158 of the Rural District Councils Act Chapter 29:13 and Section 80 of the Urban Councils Act Chapter 29:15 provides that local authorities will be provided over by commissioners prior to the swearing in of the new councillors,” reads part of the letter.
In Gweru, Mr Enos Size will be the interim chairperson, in Gokwe South RDC, Chief Njelele will be the interim chairperson while Chief Chireya will oversee Gokwe North.
Mr Clever Pote will chair Zvishavane Town Council, Mr August Mukutu will chair Gokwe Town Council, Chief Malisa, Zibagwe RDC, Chief Chirumhanzu, Chirumhanzu RDC, while a Mr Patel is overseeing Kwekwe City Council.
Chief Masunda will oversee Runde Rural Council, Chief Gambiza Vungu, Mr Nicholas Gara Shurugwi Town Council, chief Mapiravana will chair Mberengwa RDC and Chief Nhema Tongogara.
The interim commissioners, however, do not have powers to employ, go to tender, allocate stands or enter into any joint venture project for the local authority during their tenure in office.