GOVERNMENT has started building blocks of flats and houses to accommodate some of the over 30 000 families who were affected by demolitions or had built on wetlands and irregular settlements countrywide.
Some of the apartments are set to be completed by the end of the year after Treasury availed close to $ 1 billion for housing projects to benefit low-income earners, including those affected by demolitions.
Statistics availed by the Ministry of Housing and Social Amenities last week showed that the country had 31 257 families who were removed from irregular settlements.
Government is already providing support to some of the families worst affected by the demolitions, with relief camps set up in different parts of the country.
In an interview with The Sunday Mail, National Housing and Social Amenities Minister Daniel Garwe said Government had started the construction of the housing projects in different parts of the country.
“There’s full commitment by the Government to resolve the issue. Government intends to provide alternative accommodation for the households before the end of 2021. Construction of flat apartments for the relocation exercise is now underway at various sites which include Dzivaresekwa, Highfield and Senga Messengers Camp. The first four blocks of flats in Dzivaresekwa are targeted for completion by December 31, 2021 and there’s significant progress on the ground.”
He said Cabinet had directed that the first phase should commence forthwith, utilising the $75 million already provided by Treasury to implement works at Cowdray Park in Bulawayo, Binga and Cross Dete in Matabeleland North, and in Masvingo City.
“A total of 14 Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle settlements will constitute the first phase, while the costing of additional settlements is ongoing. In order to allow meaningful works to commence before the onset of the 2021/2022 rainfall season, Treasury has undertaken to disburse ZW$450 million by October, in tranches of ZW$150 million in August, ZW$150 million in September, and ZW$150 million in October 2021,” Minister Garwe said.
“Under the former Messengers Camp projects, Treasury availed ZW$200 million for construction works to commence at the Highfield (Harare) and Senga (Gweru) camps. The Public Works Department will construct four of the eight blocks at the Senga camp, with the remaining four blocks being reserved for tendering. Treasury has provided ZW$140 million to enable works to commence.”
Authorities are working tirelessly to do away with all remaining irregular settlements and currently a national verification exercise is being undertaken by a Ministerial taskforce comprising the Ministries of Local Government and Public Works; National Housing and Social Amenities; and Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement.
Modern technology, including drones will be used to identify places where plans were not followed while compliant settlements will be granted title deeds.
“The initial 10 farms that have so far been identified in this regard are Highwood, Rockwood, Umzi and Sussex under Mazowe district; Glen Forest, Gletywn, Lot 1 of Eyrecourt, Remainder of Carrick Creagh of Borrowdale Estate, and Remainder of Churu Farm under Harare; and Arcon in Goromonzi district. The farms are expected to be considered for regularisation, and this will encompass proper layout plans and engineering drawings as well as the resolution of double and multiple allocations. The verification exercise is expected to be completed by November 2021,” Minister Garwe said.
He said the Government was also examining the possibility of regularising Caledonia and Marydown Estate under Goromonzi District through provision of modern human settlement infrastructure.
“The Zimbabwe National Geospatial and Space Agency will use drones to identify places where plans were not followed, and beneficiaries found to be compliant will be issued with title. Under the Smart City concept, the model adopted for Melfort in Mashonaland East Province will be replicated in Figtree, Matabeleland South Province, and Chirundu in Mashonaland West Province amongst other sites,” the Minister said.
He warned land barons against illegally parcelling out land, saying the law will take its course.
“The illegal parcelling out of land contradicts Governments’ vision towards an Upper Middle Income Society by 2030. His Excellency, the President has always called upon authorities to ensure sanity in the housing delivery process. Those still parcelling out land are urged to stop deceiving potential home seekers. Home seekers should inquire on the status of properties with the Ministries of National Housing and Social Amenities, Local Government and Public Works, and respective local authorities before parting with their hard-earned cash,” Minister Garwe said.