HARARE – An idea that easily gets traction with desperate home-seekers is the proposed clean-up of the housing cooperative sector to make leaders of such organisations accountable to members.
Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo speaks to this intention by spearheading a commendable campaign with recent instructions, orders and regulations announced this week.
Members have been instructed to stop contributions to these organisations without risking loss of membership for defaulting until a forensic audit of each cooperative’s activities has been completed.
Moreover, membership and community effort are what cooperative units thrive on.
Over the past few years, prospective home-seekers have often rued the day they joined housing cooperatives because of mismanagement and commonplace mistrust revolving around financial matters.
Others still bemoan the money they have lost because they have invested their trust in bogus housing scheme developers.
Housing cooperatives blossomed as a collective way to provide roofs over the homeless yet, as is often the case when an innovative idea gains form, there are always sharks lurking to prey on the desperate and gullible.
Some of them use their purported connections in high offices to swindle desperate home-seekers goodwill in pursuit of self-enrichment while further impoverishing the needy.
The belated government intervention to spit and polish housing delivery through transparency and accountability among housing cooperatives has ingredients to make an impact on the lives of prospective home-owners who risked perpetual rooflessness.
In pursuing the objective of delivering houses to the poor, government could take a leaf from what Faber Chidarikire achieved during his tenure as Chinhoyi mayor a few years back.
A sprawling suburb stands as testimony of how thinking outside the box can help overcome some of the regulatory impediments that constrict housing delivery.
Chidarikire’s council achieved a feat that left a lasting impact on home-seekers lives by allowing them to mould their own bricks on stands allocated; build and fire kilns on site and construct their houses, provided the material used was robust enough to withstand building inspectors’ scrutiny.
New home-owners were required to rehabilitate the environmental damage they had caused during brick moulding and construction.
He bequeathed an enduring legacy for home-seekers by severely cutting down the frills on construction costs through what might appear unconventional measures.
The minister could interrogate the possibility of allowing stand holders to mimic Chinhoyi council under Chidarikire to deliver housing at such a massive scale at affordable cost to the prospective home-owner.