President Banda has directed the Minister of Mines, Maxwell Mwale, to direct the board of Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines Investment Holding ZCCM IH to immediately write off outstanding balances which sitting tenants of 3,386 houses in the Copperbelt province owe the company.

The president has also directed ZCCM-IH to immediately stop recoveries of all outstanding balances and harassment of sitting tenants.

President Banda said he has decided to issue directives because of complaints and petitions which sitting tenants presented to him.

He said the directive refers only to residential properties.

He said it was the hope of government that houses would be sold at reasonable prices but the majority of tenants have struggled to finish paying for the houses due to exorbitant prices.

ZANIS reports that the debt write off will apply to residents in Mufulira with 1,518 houses in Butondo, Kankoyo, Kantanshi and Mupambe townships.

In Luanshya the debt write off applies to 1,011 houses, in Kitwe 732 houses in Wusakile Mindolo Nkana east and west and Chamboli while in Chililambobwe there are 31 houses.

In Kalulushi and Chambishi, the debt writes off affects 92 houses.

President Banda told sitting tenants that the house as theirs and they now have full ownership from today onwards and no parastatal company should intimidate them.

He said the MMD government is a government for all Zambians and therefore, when people complain it must listen.

He said as President, he will not stand by and watch the poor quality of life which the people have allegedly been subjected to by the opposition Patriotic Front (PF) run councils on the Copperbelt.

The President said since last year when he raised concerns over how public money was being abused by PF run councils, nothing has changed in terms of service delivery and this was why he decided to return to Kitwe and issue directives.

He said government has been left with no option but engage directly in finding partners in order to fix some of the roads in the Copperbelt province.

And president Banda has announced that he will soon go back to Kitwe to outline the plan on the road rehabilitation in the Copperbelt province.

He charged that it was not because of elections that government has decided to take up the rehabilitation of roads in the province but because local councils have failed to do so./ZANIS