Women in Gwanda who have been living in bachelor rooms for over 15 years, will for the first time this year, enjoy the full benefits of owning a home, through the town’s home ownership scheme. During a stakeholder’s meeting that was facilitated by Women’s Institute for Leadership Development (WILD), women raised concerns about developments on home ownership.
By Bridgette Ndlovu
In the past years, women have prohibited from extending these one roomed bachelor houses, leading to overcrowding in the homes as extended families were forced to live under such circumstances.
In 2016, WILD facilitated a Town Hall meeting to discuss the state of housing in Gwanda and women revealed that one of the families encouraged young girls and boys to sleep on the roof so as to give their parents “adult time.” With harsh exterior conditions, this has not been a safe haven for girls and boys.
Edinah Banda is one of the women who are affected by the delay in processing home ownership as she has to live in these squalid conditions with her whole family. Some of the occupants have to live with their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren in these one roomed structures.
Gwanda Mayor Knowledge Ndlovu said before the end of the year, women like Edinah Banda will have nothing to worry about as they will soon be certified home owners.
Ndlovu made this announcement at a Stakeholders’ Meeting in March 2017.
“We have made significant progress on the home ownership scheme as those living in bachelor rooms for over 15 years (especially in ward 4), have been notified that their households are now eligible and qualify into the home ownership scheme.
We made a decision to deviate from a government directive which indicated that home ownership was for those who had lived in bachelor rooms for over 20 years. We did this because we felt our situation was unique and we needed to cater for most of the people who live in one roomed houses.
Before the end of this year 2017, we intend to finalise, process and handover offer letters signifying full ownership to the inhabitants,” he said.
Residents living in council houses in the Old Jahunda Township (Ward 4) will benefit. These one room shelters were built as low-cost houses for the town’s bachelors during the colonial period.
The home ownership status means that inhabitants can freely renovate and extend their homes, in accordance with council regulations, to suit the needs of their families. Home owners will no longer be mandated to pay monthly rentals to the town council as they will hold full property rights and title deeds to their homes.