NSSA/council deadlock halts progress

Residents here have urged the National Social Security Authority and City of Mutare to amicably resolve the repossession of land by the council so that work on housing projects can begin.

NSSA bought land in Mutare for development, but could not carry on due to hyperinflation between 2006 and 2008. The City of Mutare then repossessed the land, arguing that NSSA had failed to utilize it within the agreed time scale. NSSA chief executive officer, James Matiza, said the council had broken its agreement with the authority.

“In Mutare the structure of our agreement was that they would provide offsite infrastructure, but they reneged,” he said. “The issue is still pending, but the Mayor has shown an interest in resolving the matter amicably.”

Matiza cited three housing projects in Mutare which would have seen the authority building more than 2 000 houses.

“The Gimboki project had 2 000 stands, the Stanville low density project had 960 stands and another project called Meikles Park would provide more,” he said.

Unconfirmed reports say that the Meikles Park deal has been offered to a Chinese company under the government’s land swap initiative. Sources at Mutare City Council and the Ministry of Local government and Urban Development said that the Chinese plan to build a state of art shopping mall.

Currently, the open space is being used by churches. Residents interviewed said the issue should be solved amicably.

“We do not know what their agreement was, but we need that area to be developed as soon as possible. This would be a major development for everyone in Mutare,” said John Matongo, a local man.

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