‘Adopt sustainable land allocation’ Dr Misheck Sibanda

Enacy Mapakame
Business Reporter
Stakeholders in the real estate sector say the country needs to adopt sustainable and smart land allocation at a time when its demand, particularly residential continues to sky rocket.

High rise buildings, for instance provide a solution to the land challenge that cities, especially Harare are facing, which has resulted in desperate home seekers opting for areas not suitable for residential habitation such as wetlands, while others are duped by fraudsters.

At a Zimbabwe Property Market Webinar 2021 held last week, panelists looked at aspects ranging from residential property market-prices, location and developments on offer, affordability with reference to mortgages and payment terms, evaluating authenticity of residential property on sale as well as smart residential housing for Zimbabwe.

City of Harare principal town planner Barbara Mugocha, said the city was now looking at modern and smart ways of allocating residential land in a conservative manner given the rising demand.

For instance, gated communities in upmarket residential areas being adopted in the country and world over were one way of providing prime residential properties on smaller pieces of land.

“We are trying to densify areas, land is now scarce.

“Where we can have gated communities or subdivide land, will be a welcome development unlike in the past where one house was on a vast piece of land,” she said during the webinar hosted by West Property Zimbabwe in conjunction with Financial Markets (FMI).

Speaking during the same virtual event, West Property Zimbabwe executive chairman Ken Sharpe, highlighted the property sector was evolving with times and therefore calling for stakeholders to be abreast with developments happening across the world.

“Times have changed and more needs to be done now especially on the planning side. People are moving towards gated communities and Harare is doing a lot towards this.

“What we need to do is allow people to do internal finishes in apartments according to their tastes but first ensure all the necessary and basic amenities are in place. This is a faster way of allocating properties to home seekers,” said Mr Sharpe.

FMI director Patrick Muzondo, said hone ownership could not be over emphasized. However, the process called for due diligence to avoid any financial losses.

“We all agree that owning a home is probably the biggest dream of an individual. It is big not only in monetary terms but also the emotional value that it accords.

“To top all these, home ownership brings with it a sense of accomplishment and social status and so with home ownership signifying so much, one needs to ensure that a purchase decision is carefully analysed, planned and executed” he said.

The Zimbabwe Property Market webinar was the second of its kind following the successful holding of a similar one last year.

Central Government has also come out strongly condemning building properties on wetlands.

Government is crafting tough legislation to decisively deal with land barons who are illegally parcelling out residential and commercial stands, especially on wetlands.

President Mnangagwa is now seized with the matter and all culprits will be punished as the Government seeks to solve the problem permanently.

Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda yesterday confirmed that the issue was now being handled at the highest level.

Dr Sibanda was speaking after presiding over the signing of a performance contract for Engineer Joy Pedzisayi Makumbe, the newly appointed Permanent Secretary for National Housing and Social Amenities.

“The issue of wetlands and the consequences that have arisen are being handled now at the highest level.

“We have now had to move fast and soon, an appropriate pronouncement on the way forward is going to be articulated from the highest offices.

“It is a matter that is being attended to,” said Dr Sibanda.

Other heads of ministries signed their contracts in December but Engineer Makumbe was not yet posted to the ministry.

She replaced Engineer Theodius Chinyanga who was reassigned to the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development.

Dr Sibanda said: “All permanent secretaries as mentioned during the ceremony on December 18, have started implementing their priorities within the framework of the National Development Strategy 1.

“She (Eng Makumbe) had started without necessary confirmation of the contract, but now it has become urgent because the Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities and the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works have challenges.

“We are trying to address the problem of wetlands, which is a result of illegal settlements. The quicker we create an environment for her the better and this is why we decided that we sign the contract so that she starts her work,” he said.

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