via UN to monitor Zimbabwe demolitions November 27, 2013 by Moses Matenga NewsDay
THE United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has intervened to ensure the government programme to demolish illegally-built structures is done in an orderly manner.
This comes as government awaits the findings of an audit report on the illegal parcelling-out of land to be released at the end of the week.
Addressing journalists after meeting representatives from the UNDP in Harare yesterday, Local Government, Public Works and National Housing deputy minister Joel Biggie Matiza said the plan to demolish illegal structures would be guided by the report.
“The UNDP will come in to capacitate and financing things like programming. For example, we are looking at the overall problem in the nation, the finance programme and it brings all stakeholders together in this programme,” Matiza said.
“We told them the process would be done in a more organised manner. The audit report coming out this week will lead us into action to redress the issues. Our actions will be managed properly with ample time where there is need for resettlement.”
Matiza said after briefing them on the developments, UNDP now understood where the government was coming from.
“The issue is to sanitise a chaotic situation. If a person’s house is on a sewer line, that somebody has to leave and that structure will not be left standing. There will be demolitions, but not heartless ones like being portrayed in the papers,” Matiza added.
He said the government did not turn a blind eye when the structures were being built, but tried to stop them.
Matiza said government would launch the first of its public-private sector partnership (PPPs) to intensify the delivery of housing with Dzivarasekwa being the first port of call.
On whether victims of illegal settlements would be prioritised on government projects, Matiza said: “We are not looking at those who illegally settled themselves. They have to be compensated by the person who gave them that illegal land.”
Matiza denied allegations that his probe team assigned to produce the Chitungwiza/Seke report was pocketing $15 000 a day from the local authority, saying they were yet to be paid, but whatever they were getting would not exceed $3 000.
The team was set up by Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo to probe cases of illegal parcelling-out of land around the country.