Media Update on Illegal Water and Sewer Connection in Mufakose
04 October 2019, Mufakose- THE Harare Residents Trust (HRT) has undertaken some investigations on a housing cooperative allegedly established by State-security workers under the banner of Youths in Business. This cooperative has already illegally connected itself to water and sewerage from the City of Harare without following the proper way of incorporation into the Harare Master Plan. The Youths in Business Cooperative is built on State land. During a visit to the area by the HRT, it was established that 100 properties located in Mhishi, Mufakose along Mubayamhondoro Road near the railway line, opposite Budiriro 5 suburb have water and sewer connection, yet there are no records at the Mufakose District Office or Remembrance District Office of the Housing and Community Services Department. It was established that there are two phases; the first one has all stands sold out and built while the second phase is at the centre of an ownership dispute with the City of Harare.
According to council officials, the area in question is state land, under the jurisdiction of Zvimba Rural District Council (ZRDC), and is on State land. This is in Harare, not Zvimba. From enquiries among the occupants of the houses under Youths in Business, they mentioned repeatedly a man identified as Chasakara as the leader. Efforts to get in speak to Chasakara were fruitless as the given number was not connecting. What is evident however is that the City of Harare does not have any records of the properties.
But something strange happened regarding the same properties following their disconnection of water supplies to these illegal users. Officers from the Criminal Investigations Department and suspected members of the Central Intelligence Organisation besieged the council offices in Mufakose demanding that the water supplies be restored without delays. This has left council workers frightened and infuriated as they cannot execute their work in terms of urban planning. But these illegally connected households still use Harare’s water, for free.
In terms of urban planning, the occupiers of State land have to be incorporated into the Harare Master Plan, and they are issued with a Certificate of Incorporation if they are to be included under the jurisdiction of the City of Harare. Then they would be accepted into the City of Harare as legal occupants deserving of services like water, sewerage and refuse collection, with cooperatives usually responsible for their road infrastructure. After getting the certificate of incorporation, they would have to service their area, that is, provision of sewer, water and roads in order to get a certificate of compliance, which is then submitted to the City of Harare. The Council will require a membership list accompanied by a diagram, site plan, from the Surveyor General which shows stands’ sizes. The list should show who is on what stand and the occupants will be invited to submit sufficient personal documentation related to their respective stands. Thereafter a file will be opened for each occupant and after finishing the process the names will be submitted to the Central Valuation and Estates Management CVEM at Rowan Martin for account opening, thereby authorising the connecting of water supplies for individuals, validating one’s ratepayer status as a consumer of city services.
The above process has not been followed in relation to the Youths in Business housing programme.
Therefore there are no files for all the occupants of those houses at the District Office in Mufakose,
there are no plans filed with the planning department at Cleveland Building and at the Housing and
Community Services Department, Remembrance, Mbare. Despite all this, the properties have been
illegally added onto the City’s accounting system, and now have received some bills with account
numbers and addresses, but without billed items. There is scandal unfolding at Rowan Martin
Building where someone must be manipulating the system to add or remove account numbers,
apparently after receiving bribe payments.
It remains unclear who is involved. Reports claim that the occupants have leases from the
Government. But authoritative sources say that the Government only gives leases to flats occupants
not on detached individual houses. Individual houses should be accompanied with agreement of
sale. These houses have been receiving statements and initially they put the suburb as Ridle Ridge
which is near Murombedzi in Mashonaland West. After being caught out that the statements were
fake and illegally generated, the criminals then changed and provided new details saying it was
Mufakose without any narration on the charged items. The Council officials at the District Office
reportedly discovered the anomaly and raised concerns with the Finance Department at Rowan
Martin Building, and then the statements came without any suburban name being given, revealing
that this was internally being generated. Somewhere in the City of Harare sits a very corrupt man or
woman or there is a network that runs this illegal project to make personal money. Given that these
illegal occupants are getting access to the system that produces household bills, there is increasing
demand from some council officials that these seemingly untouchables should be charged higher
water and sewer charges because they are illegal and have no record with the City of Harare.
Given the toxic relations that have existed between the City District Office and the Youths in
Business under Chasakara, reports say that some of the occupants are abusing their offices and
claiming to be investigating the local Mufakose District Office for alleged corruption. The City of
Harare insists that the area is unlawful and that these people should not benefit from ratepayers’
water and sewer services without following the council system of urban planning. Chasakara has
reportedly attempted to sue the council over the vandalising of the illegally connected water meters
as they attempted to settle the matter and hinder the Youths in Business houses from stealing City
of Harare water.
The disturbing aspect is that some unidentified senior Government officials are reportedly
pressuring the Council to allow these illegally connected houses to continue using council water. This
claim however could not be verified by the time of writing this update. The City of Harare has
insisted that they will only begin the process of negotiating with the illegal occupants when the law
is complied with, and for now they will push to have them disconnected from the City of Harare
water and sewerage until there is compliance. It also remains unclear why the City of Harare has not
approached the courts to have these people charged from criminal activities after they illegally
connected themselves to the Harare water main pipes.