Residents demand return of lodger’s card system

Residents have slammed government, the city council and Old Mutual-Central African Building Society (CABS) for making new houses under the Budiriro Housing Project too expensive.

Mai Ziwocha of Budiriro says council must revert to the old lodger's card system in the provision of houses.
Mai Ziwocha of Budiriro says council must revert to the old lodger’s card system in the provision of houses.

More than 3,000 units are available under the scheme. An ordinary serviced stand is going for a total of $21,000 with a deposit of $7,800 upfront, while two and four-roomed houses cost $26,000 and $29,000 respectively.

“There is hide-and-seek as well as greed in the way council is handling the Budiriro project. And we are the victims. If a pro-poor projects charges $7,800 upfront then it ceases to make sense in a country whose economy is on its knees and largely composed of vendors and employees who earn less than $250 monthly,” said Mai Ziwocha, a landlord in Budiriro 1.

She urged council to revert to the old way of delivering houses to the people. “Council must put people at heart and engage the community in the provision of houses. The lodger’s card system which council used to follow was efficient in delivering houses and stands on a first come first serve basis, regardless of one’s financial status,” she said.

Glen Norah Councillor for Warm 28, Wellington Chikombo, told a recent meeting that officials were not doing justice to the poor. “When we signed a memorandum of agreement with Old Mutual on in January 2012 the project was deemed a pro-poor project. Yet our officials are negotiating prices on behalf of business people and not the poor,” he said.

Some of the houses at Budiriro Housing Project.
Some of the houses at Budiriro Housing Project.

Lawrence Bisiketi of Mabvuku said council should not charge deposit and legal fees as a once-off payment. “Council should give houses on zero deposit and charge reasonable monthly instalments like $80 for the project to be pro-poor. Government must give free land for such projects to cut the costs,” he said.

Rumbidzai Tinarwo of Waterfalls said government must partner local authorities in the provision of housing and other services. “Unlike what happened in Hopley, Hatcliffe, Tongogara and Whitecliffe resettlements, government must first service the land to settle people in an orderly fashion,” she said.

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