Sunday Mail Reporter
AT least 40 percent of new housing projects will be reserved for the construction of high-rise buildings to curb the unrestricted spread of settlements and promote modern housing infrastructure.
This is part of provisions of the National Housing Settlements Policy approved by Cabinet last week.
Speaking during the post-Cabinet media briefing last week, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the new policy, which is guided by Vision 2030, dovetails with Government’s thrust to create a relatively prosperous society within the next 10 years.
The policy resonates with the country’s supreme law, the African Union (AU)’s Agenda 2063 and other international charters that promote decent shelter.
It introduces a raft of changes to ensure that planning, development and management of settlements are in line with national and international disaster risk reduction frameworks.
“This will help address the huge housing and social amenities backlog. . .” Minister Mutsvangwa said.
“It is expected to reduce the high costs of building materials and housing finance.
“Cognisant that land is a finite resource, all productive agricultural land will be preserved as such. To curb settlement sprawl, 40 percent of land for human settlements development will be reserved for the construction of high-rise flats/buildings.”
The policy will provide for disaster risk assessment, environmental impact assessment, and integrating implications of climate change into aspects of rural and urban settlement planning, development and management.
State land earmarked for human settlements shall be managed through the Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities, including the respective local authorities.
All local authorities are now expected to have spatial planning units manned by registered spatial planners that would be responsible for development planning, control and facilitation in each local planning area.
Government has resolved to reserve social housing for the destitute as well social institutions for orphans and the aged whenever human settlements are being planned.
In a recent interview, National Housing and Social Amenities Minister Daniel Garwe told The Sunday Mail that 200 000 new houses will be constructed by 2023, while apartments that are unfit for human habitation will be rebuilt as part of implementing the new policy.
Civil servants and low-income earners are expected to benefit.
Already, construction of high-rise apartments for nurses is set to begin in January next year. Government has identified apartments in Kariba, Hwange and Victoria Falls, which will undergo immediate facelift or reconstruction.
Minister Garwe said Government is partnering the private sector.
“There are so many projects that are not only exciting but futuristic. We have created a relationship with the private sector in line with what the President has advocated for a private sector-driven economy. We now have the banking community working with us to ensure that housing delivery becomes a success.”