HARARE City Council earned $700k from selling burial space

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HARARE City Council generated revenue of more than $700 000 last year selling burial space for over 6 000 people who were buried at its cemeteries. Demand for graves reportedly far surpasses the available burial space. The 2015 annual report of the Department of Housing and Community Services shows the city needs to identify more burial sites as people in the capital succumb to various ailments.warren-hills

“The cemeteries recorded a total of 6 355 burials and revenue for all cemeteries was $770 132,” reads the report. Warren Hills Cemetery has since been closed down by Harare City Council with the remaining space reserved for the Harare Provincial Heroes’ Cemetery.

Council is developing a new cemetery at Eyerstone Residential Estate measuring 150 hectares following the decommissioning of Warren Hills Cemetery. The Eyerstone Cemetery is set to be commissioned for burials before year-end.

Eyerstone residential estate has 7 000 stands which comprise high, medium and low density. According to the same report, Harare’s housing waiting list had 166 637 applicants but 47,4 percent had not renewed their status.

The city’s research and planning section had not been able to carry out interviews for new housing projects because of scarcity of residential stands. The section also failed to conduct a monitoring and evaluation exercise due to shortage of transport.

“The challenges facing the department were transport shortages, lack of finances to complete projects such as Kuwadzana Library, shortage of skilled manpower created by retirements and deaths which needed to be filled in timeously,” reads the report.

According to the report, the mushrooming of illegal structures and activities were widespread in most districts. No capital bids were fulfilled as council struggled to meet its budget for 2015 as well as connecting all the districts to the BIQ computer system.

This, the report noted, negatively impacted on the production of monthly bills. The education division had nine libraries which were operational during the period and Kuwadzana Library was yet to be completed.

“There was a decrease in the number of people visiting libraries. There was a 94,5 percent pass rate for Grade 7 at council schools and 21 out of 37 pre-schools were operational. “There was low enrolment at vocational training centres,” reads the report.-ZP