Harare City Council has started servicing residential stands, with the city targeting to service 3 000 stands and not less than 1 000 housing units this year. The city, which had collapsed the department of housing to fall under the chamber secretary’s department recently resuscitated the department with Rtd Major Matthew Marara being appointed acting housing and community services director, tasked with spearheading housing development.
Council had failed in its mandate to service land for the past 20 years due to economic challenges and had abrogated that mandate to housing cooperatives.
This led to the mushrooming of illegal settlements and unscrupulous land barons who fleeced home seekers of their hard-earned cash.
The city’s acting corporate communications manager Mr Michael Chideme said the first project involves 234 stands in St Martins, on the piece of land bounded by St Martins, Airport Road and the Catholic University.
“The stands also include church, commercial, home industry and parking space.
“Plant and equipment will be deployed in the area this week to open roads, dig water and sewer lines in readiness for the stand holders to move in and start construction.
“Stands for the first phase numbering up to 86 have already been sold while the remainder will be sold while servicing takes place,” he said.
He said council is engaging residents who planted maize on the land, educating them on the project and advising them of the removal of their crops to clear the land for development.
Mr Chideme said the only crops that will be affected are those in the path of the road construction, meaning that residents will be able to harvest the bulk of their crop.
“Servicing of residential stands is part of the city’s mandate, which it had temporarily stopped due to economic difficulties.
“However, due to public demand, the mandate has been resuscitated,” he said.
The move by the city comes at a time when Government has stopped dealing with housing cooperatives, which have largely been fleecing residents without providing them with the required services.
The city expects the development will go a long way in reducing the city’s housing backlog which currently stands at more than 500 000.
Under the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio Transformation programme, Harare Province is expected to deliver 105 935 housing units by 2018.