The latest ZIMSTAT census revealed the housing crisis in Zimbabwe's urban areas. Half the people who live in urban areas are tenants who do not have their own houses. Part of the reason for this is that Zimbabwe has been going through a rapid urbanization process that has not been matched by an urban expansion in terms of stands and services.
Zimbabwe’s second-largest city is no exception to this problem as there are currently a lot of families still waiting to be allocated a stand. According to the Bulawayo City Council, the southern city has a backlog of 125 000 stands. Residents of the city however have good news on the front of the stands: the city is slotted to get a new suburb which comes with 5 000 new stands. That will lead to a tiny reduction in the backlog but it is still going to be a step in the right direction.
This feat is going to be achieved by absorbing about six wards that are on the edges of the city of Bulawayo into the city. The areas currently fall under the Umguza constituency. Umguza is currently a rural district on the northern side of Bulawayo. However, the Bulawayo City Council has been lobbying to have the six wards included as part of Bulawayo in the upcoming delimitation exercise. This will see the area being swallowed to become part of the city of Bulawayo and thus be transferred from Matabeleland North to Bulawayo Province.
So how and why is this going to happen? Well, there is a law that allows for this sort of expansion.
According to The Presidential Proclamation 15E of 2004 and the subsequent Statutory Instruments (SI) that created the metropolitan provinces of Bulawayo and Harare, metropolitan boundaries were declared as covering a radius of up to 40 kilometres and in Bulawayo, most of those areas are under the jurisdiction of Umguza Rural District Council (RDC).
While that administrative process is ongoing the city of Bulawayo has not just been idly waiting. They have roped in a well-known development company called Hencock Ranching to start work on creating an initial batch of 5 000 stands. The company has already started working on creating and servicing the stands. Hencock Ranching has sent a proposal to partner to the BCC outlining how they will be constructing and enhancing the sewerage services of Bulawayo in preparation for the addition of the new suburb into Bulawayo’s jurisdiction.
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