GWERU — Government has ordered council to stop the sale of residential stands owned by the municipality to prospective buyers until the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing has conducted valuations of the properties.
“We have suspended the sale of stands in Kopje, Mkoba 21 and all other areas until the valuators from the Ministry have completed their valuations,” said acting town clerk, Edgar Mwedzi.
“Sale of the stands would resume once the valuators have completed the work and the stands would now be sold at prices which would have been arrived at by them.”
This came after an audit report compiled by the Ministry of Local Government in June last year revealed that the stands were being sold for a song to council employees and councillors.
As a result, council was being prejudiced of revenue.
In Kopje, one of the city’s prime suburbs, a stand was being sold for as little as US$3 per square metre and yet its market value should be around US$30 per square metre.
Interestingly, council had last year put on sale Mkoba 21 stands measuring 300 square metres for US$4 950, which translates to US$16,50 per square metre.
A commission running council’s affairs has since reversed the sale of the stands in Kopje.
Mwedzi said those who have already bought the stands prior to the valuations would not be affected by the exercise.
The valuations have delayed the servicing of stands which started last year. This has resulted in a situation whereby private developers are reporting a boom in business owing to the absence of reasonably priced council stands on the market.
Tinashe Manzungu, the director of Zimbuild Housing Trust, said their stand sales have been picking up as people want ready to build stands.
“As a trust we use some of our money to service our land hence when we advertise for stands there are ready to build. We have recorded brisk business,” said Manzungu.
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