Evelene Taadira Herald Reporter
GOVERNMENT has engaged a Chinese firm, Henan Guoji, to build 10 000 low-cost houses as Zanu-PF, the party that informs Government, moves to fulfil its election promise where it pledged to curb the scourge of homelessness in cities and towns. Zimbabwe’s housing backlog stands at 1,25 million and Zanu-F seeks to slash the waiting list by, among other things, rehabilitating physical and social infrastructure from funding to be unlocked from indigenisation and empowerments assets through IDBZ, Agribank and Sedco.
Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Ignatius Chombo yesterday said the housing project had already begun.
“We signed a Memorandum of Understanding which will begin to consummate this year and their company representatives have already been into the country to establish the ground work. Identification of land has been done by the officials and the layout is now being scrutinised.
“They wanted virgin land on which to build 10 000 houses. Government came up with the land on which the houses will be built and the company will come up with the technology. Part of the interest lies in the transformation of Chitungwiza from being more of a dormitory town to a modern city which is well planned,” he said.
The construction company is set to build a demonstration unit from which the total cost of the project would be ascertained.
Minister Chombo said as part of the MoU, there would be provision for mortgages.
“Henan Guoji will finance the building of the houses and work with a local bank in which China has interests to provide mortgage for those houses,” he said.
The initiative, Minister Chombo said, was part of the housing policy promulgated by Government last year.
“The main task now is to see that which can and cannot be done and look at the current housing backlog and see how it relates to different cities, the houses will be distributed between Harare and a few other cities,” he said.
The housing backlog rose due to lack of finance for mortgages that saw some unscrupulous people taking advantage by forming bogus co-operatives that swindled desperate home seekers in need of low cost houses
Early this year, President Mugabe launched the revised housing policy amid calls to make housing affordable to the majority.
Speaking at the launch President Mugabe called for low cost initiatives that could accommodate the majority of the people.
The revised housing policy seeks to indigenise the country’s housing delivery sector, while guiding and harmonising all the activities.
Meanwhile, Henan Guoji has offered scholarships to two Zimbabwean students, Snini Landa and Melody Rusinga, to read for postgraduate degrees on Chinese culture and language as part of cementing relations between the two countries.
Ms Susan Tang a representative of the construction company hailed the relationship between Harare and Beijing.
Henan Guoji has also built low-cost houses in Mozambique, Zambia and Sierra Leone.