Co-operatives, land barons continue fleecing Harare residents


Munyaradzi Doma

Harare residents continue being fleeced millions of dollars by land barons and housing co-operatives who continue demanding payments stands despite a council policy against the practice.

The policy for council to take over all payments was passed in 2016.

However, a recent full council meeting revealed that some co-operative executives have continued to cash in on unsuspecting members.

The Harare Residents Trust director Precious Shumba said while such a policy exists, the onus is on residents to do their own enquiries because some government and council officials are corrupt hence they don’t protect residents.

“We think that council should get rid of corrupt officials who collude with housing cooperative leaders. Chairpersons should be neutral and stop making land allocations on partisan grounds.

“Residents should also check and verify histories and backgrounds of cooperatives before joining them, to avoid joining bogus cooperatives,” he said.

According to the policy, all new and old co-operatives were converted into Pay Schemes run by the housing and community services director.

The director opens an account where all individual Pay Scheme members deposit administrative fees towards the servicing of their stands.

Members then sign Agreements of Sale with council upon payment of land intrinsic value.

Old co-operatives are required to surrender their database and payments to council and members who paid land intrinsic value would sign individual Agreements of Sale with the local authority.

Council then takes over the collection of administrative fees from the Pay Schemes.

However, a recent housing and community services committee meeting noted that despite the council pay scheme policy, some co-operative leaders have continued to demand administration fees from members.

The committee then resolved that housing and community services director Addmore Nhekairo communicates with all housing Pay Scheme and former co-operatives asking them to desist from charging members any administrative fees as this was now council’s prerogative.

“The Director of Housing and Community Services was further requested to take over the administration of housing Pay Schemes/former Co-operative and ensure he opened accounts where administration fees would be deposited and sign individual Agreements of Sale with co-operative/pay scheme members who had paid land intrinsic value,” read the minutes.

It was added that council had to do more to make residents aware of the policy which is meant to protect them from losing their hard earned money through bogus stand payments.

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