Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has urged women to come together and form cooperatives that will enable them to buy residential stands.
This came out during a Women’s round table meeting held in ward 13, Iminyela, in Bulawayo, Friday, organised by Centre for Innovation and Technology (CITE), Women’s Institute for Leadership Development (WILD) and Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BUPRA) to discuss challenges faced by women in acquiring residential stands.
Speaking at the meeting BCC Gender Focal Person Audrey Manyemwe said the local authority finds it better to work with registered cooperatives when it comes to allocating residential stands.
“Looking at the issue of housing, the Council finds it better to work with cooperatives that are organised and structured, we know the economic environment at the moment, it is very difficult for an individual to raise the money that will be needed once stands are out,” said Manyemwe.
“Once women organise themselves in tens then they can approach the Council as a group and registered cooperative and they get in an agreement with the housing service department and have a plan how they are going to acquire residential stands whenever stands are available, they are not always available but at least if they are known and in the system, their plan will determine how often they will get the stands.”
Manyemwe encouraged women to apply for residential stands and have the property registered under their names.
“As a gender officer, I am really concerned that women to this day don’t own property, owning property has various implications and benefits, where they are registered under the man of the house like you heard in terms of the law even if you are married you are not in community of property, so that means the person with registered name is free to go and sell, go into debt using that property as a collateral and when he fails to pay the debt whoever wants his money can attach that property.
“All that will happen in the woman’s back in the end when the property is taken by somebody it’s the woman together with children who suffers with nowhere to go, the man would have taken the man and spent it elsewhere, so that is why I am encouraging women to be registered,” she said.
She added that even those not under homeownership should regularise it with the local authority and have both names on the homeownership registered as co-owners.
Manyemwe added that the local authority is now allowing single and divorced women to have the property registered under their names.
She also encouraged young girls above the age of 18 to also register in the council housing waiting list.
Manyemwe said currently residential stand forms are ZWL$160. 64.