Innocent Ruwende Municipal Reporter
Government is set to create three new towns near Harare and one near Bulawayo that are expected to usher in more than 150 000 houses as it moves to clear the housing backlog, Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere has said.
This comes as the Government also introduced the Own-Your-Own-Home Scheme nationwide that seeks to meet targets set under Zim-Asset.
Under the economic blueprint, the Government expects to provide up to 300 000 residential stands by 2018 nationwide.
Harare province is expected to deliver 105 935 houses by 2018, the Midlands (56 760), Matabeleland North (28 772), Mashonaland West (23 819), Manicaland (21 830), Masvingo (20 269), Mashonaland Central (16 607), Bulawayo (15 100), Matabeleland South (12 500) and 11 776 in Mashonaland East.
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Last year, the country developed 17 000 housing units and serviced stands under the economic blue-print.
Zim-Asset targets translate to 25 000 units/stands per annum.
Minister Kasukuwere recently said Government would capacitate and give Urban Development Corporation (Udcorp) State land to develop and beneficiaries would be drawn from the Government and local authorities waiting lists.
Minister Kasukuwere said this while announcing the new Udcorp board.
“We will be tabling the matter in Cabinet. We want Udcorp to work with financial institutions in delivering houses. Housing development is currently one of the most corruption-prone areas of development in Zimbabwe.
“We want Udcorp to be transparent and honourable in its activities. Let the corporation be seen as a reliable investment opportunity for home seekers, financiers, partners, donors and other developers,” he said.
Minister Kasukuwere said the role of housing development was supposed to be the preserve of local authorities, but due to numerous reasons and challenges councils failed to meet demand.
He said Udcorp should form partnerships with local authorities for housing delivery and help build their capacity to deliver housing in the near future.
Housing, he said, should not be seen as Harare housing, but also the provision of housing in rural service centres for new farmers, development of sustainable new towns, expansion of existing small towns and growth points and provision of commercial and factory shells to enhance local economic development for sustained urban growth and local value addition.
“Udcorp needs to be proactive in tapping into the funding available for local governance training in the donor community.
“I expect the new board to be energetic, lead to dynamic injection of housing development activity starting today, yes I am impatient for results. I want existing housing construction records shattered as we decimate the waiting lists with speedy housing delivery,” he said.
Economist and development banker Mr Thomas Zondo Sakala will chair the new Udcorp board which also includes Mr Hashmon Matemera, former group managing director of BancABC; UZ lecturer in planning and development Ms Audrey Kwangwama; ministry director Ms Nyasha Priscilla Mudzinge; Harare Institute of Technology Vice Chancellor Eng Quinton Kanhukamwe; architect and technician Ms Nyarai Gutu; and EMA director general Ms Dorothy Chasi.
Over 1,5 million people are on council housing waiting lists countrywide.