Encroachment on Malawi Housing Corporation (MHC, especially in Lilongwe, has stalled a housing project.
The problem is huge in the city of Lilongwe compared to other areas forcing MHC to abandon its plans to construct houses in Area 38 (Ntaya) as the area is heavily encroached.
Of late, Lilongwe has seen illegal land sales by individuals who go to the extent of masquerading as officials belonging to the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development.
In an interview MHC spokesperson Ernestina Lunguzi said the firm was forced to shelve plans to build houses in Area 38 because of encroachment.
”We are embarking on several projects to construct houses in all the regions but the problems of encroachment have affected our operations in Lilongwe. We wanted to construct houses in Area 38 but the area is heavily encroached,” said Lunguzi.
She said MHC will engage the Ministry of Lands to see if they can be allocated another land to roll out the project.
Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development Anna Kachikho said that she needs more time to get more details regarding the problem and assured that they will assist MHC.
“I need to speak to officials in the Department of Housing but we will see how we can assist them [MHC],” said Kachikho.
But one of the residents in the area who spoke on condition of anonymity blamed both government and MHC for being slow to develop the area. He said some people took advantage by selling the plots and some even constructed houses.
Apart from Area 38, some encroachers have also besieged Area 43 as well as Lupaso in Mzuzu forcing MHC to issue a statement last week to condemn the act.
According to the statement buying and development of these plots is illegal and at owners risk and that the corporation will demolish erected structures in the area without compensation.
Currently, MHC is effectively constructing new houses at Ngumbe in Blantyre.
According to Lunguzi, the company has ambitious plans to construct 2 500 houses across the regions by end of this year.
”So far we have set aside about K900 million for the construction of 40 houses at Ngumbe and the contractor is already on site. This financial year we want to construct 2 500 houses as we want to reduce challenges of accommodation,” she said.