A process of identifying and quantifying irregular settlements where people settled on wetlands in local authorities has begun, with a view to either relocate them or regularise their stay, Government has said.
This comes as Cabinet has approved principles of the Zimbabwe Construction Industry Council Bill, that seeks to restore sanity in the construction industry through registering all construction companies and ensuring there was recourse for the general public who would have been duped by unscrupulous contractors.
Addressing journalists during a post-Cabinet media briefing yesterday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said Cabinet received a progress report on the identification and quantification of all irregular and dysfunctional settlements in local authorities and on wetlands presented by Vice President Constantino Chiwenga.
VP Chiwenga is the Chairperson of the Enhanced Cabinet Committee on Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Management.
Minister Mutsvangwa said Cabinet was informed that the process of producing a masterplan of all ecologically sensitive areas had started.
“Technical teams comprising experts from the Zimbabwe Geospatial and Space Agency and the Environmental Management Agency in collaboration with the relevant ministries are expected to take about two and half months to complete the mapping exercise. Similarly, the delineation of the country’s wetlands has already started,” she said.
“On the identification and quantification of households in irregular and dysfunctional settlements, including in flood-prone areas, Cabinet was informed that the verification process is underway and should be completed in the coming ten days. Care is being exercised to ensure that only deserving beneficiaries are registered for relocation.”
She said the first category would be of families illegally settled dangerously on land. These will be relocated as soon as the identified destinations have been prepared and equipped with services, in order to pave way for the demolition of their illegal structures, said Minister Mutsvangwa.
“The second category shall be for those families settled on land suitable for urban development, but which requires regularisation and the provision of basic municipal services,” she said.
Minister Mutsvangwa said devolution funds will be used for the housing construction programme while financial instruments encouraging the private sector to participate in infrastructural development were being designed.
“In future, up to 40 percent of all housing settlements in urban areas will follow the high-rise model for densification which frees land for industries, schools, clinics, recreational centres and other social development aspects. In addition, Government is in the process of deploying to all provinces personnel with the requisite skills in physical planning, infrastructure development and environmental management,” she said.
On the Zimbabwe Construction Industry Council Bill, Minister Mutsvangwa said the proposed law will regulate the building environment through registering and monitoring of construction companies. The Bill, which was presented in Cabinet by National Housing and Social Amenities Minister, Daniel Garwe, will establish a council to regulate the industry.
Minister Mutsvangwa said Vice President Kembo Mohadi also presented a National Youth Policy for 2020 to 2025 as Chairperson for Cabinet Committee on Social Services and Poverty Reduction.
The policy seeks to empower youths through various initiatives one of which include establishing a youth focal desks in Government departments to ensure mainstreaming of issues to do with young people.