Construction of civil servants’ flats takes shape
Victor Maphosa Mashonaland East Bureau
Construction of blocks of flats for civil servants in Marondera and Dzivaresekwa in Harare is progressing well, with the contractor of the Marondera flats expected to hand over the finished product by end of October.
The developments demonstrate that the Government is walking the talk on providing modern houses that meet Zimbabwe’s goal of becoming an upper middle income society by 2030.
Construction of the Marondera flats is being done in two phases, with four blocks accommodating 64 families being constructed in the first phase, while two blocks of flats would be constructed in the second phase that will benefit 32 families.
Each block will have four floors.
Yesterday, National Housing and Social Amenities Minister Daniel Garwe toured the site to have an appreciation of the construction progress.
“We are here in Dombotombo, Marondera on a tour of projects that are being undertaken by the Government of the New Dispensation all in accordance to the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1), focusing on the achievement of Vision 2030,” he said.
“We are here to assess progress and look at the challenges the contractor might be facing and also whether we are on target in terms of the delivery time that we have given to the contractor.
“So far we have realised that the contractor is 14 days behind schedule as a result of some rains and they could not do certain activities. So instead of handing over these blocks of flats end of September, they will hand them over to us end of October this year.”
Minister Garwe said the Government was answering to calls to improve housing for all by 2030.
He added that a target of providing 220 000 houses by 2025 has been set, but said that target won’t be achieved by the Government alone.
“Government will play its part and housing developers are also taking part in the 220 000 housing delivery agenda,” he said.
Minister Garwe said the Government had adopted new technologies to expedite the housing delivery agenda.
“What that means is we want to deliver a house at half the cost and half the time of delivery. For example, a house that is supposed to be built in six months can be built in three months.
“That is what we are targeting.
“We are in every province in the country providing housing solutions to Zimbabweans. Here in Mashonaland East Province, we have nine administration districts and we are not going to be building in Marondera alone; next we are going to be building in Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe (UMP) and we are going to have a ground-breaking ceremony this month to start building affordable flats in the rural districts councils.
“We have a number of civil servants in the rural areas including in the teaching sector, nurses, Agritex officers and others that require accommodation. We want to provide for them in their areas.”
Minister Garwe added that Government had various models that it would implement, including rent-to-buy model and the rental model with priority being given to civil servants.
Speaking after the tour, Leengate Contractors Engineer, Kennedy Bunhu, thanked Government for giving local contractors an opportunity to show their ability to deliver quality products for the nation.
“As a local company, we are grateful to the Government for including us in their programmes. This has led to employment creation and also the growth of our local businesses. This will showcase us as local companies that we are able to do what the international companies can do.
“We are grateful and we will compliment what the Government is doing by also doing good work and prove that local companies can do the same, even better than what international companies do,” said Eng Bunhu.
In Dzivaresekwa, the flats will also cater for civil servants and people illegally settled in wetlands and land reserved for social amenities.
Further, the completion of four blocks of flats left idle under the First Republic is now being finalised with only a few touches outstanding, including putting of window panes.
Minister Garwe and his deputy, Yeukai Simbanegavi, toured the construction site yesterday to get an update on developments.
“Government is rebuilding its stock of houses so that at any given time there won’t be any shortage of housing. We are also speaking to the National Development Strategy 1 in terms of housing delivery that we must deliver at least 220 000 houses by year 2025,” he said.
Minister Garwe said three contractors had been engaged to carry out the projects.
“Firstly, we are completing the last portion of incomplete flats started a long time ago. The contractor is the Public Works under Ministry of Local Government and Public Works. The flats are for rental purposes.
“We are also constructing 48 blocks of flats through tendering of the private sector companies and other schemes we may think of and developers who have got their own money to come on board with Build Operate and Transfer models,” he said.
Minister Garwe said at the site where 48 flats are being constructed, civil works are nearing completion.
“Leengate won the tender to do the civil works.
“They are starting with roads in accordance with the Human Settlement Policy which stipulates that no more construction of houses before onsite and offsite infrastructure is provided as roads, water and sewer reticulation services,” he said.
Minister Garwe said the other project was awarded to local youths that won a tender to build 12 blocks of flats, each with four floors by 16 units.
“In the first phase they will build six blocks. We want to assess their performance then escalate to the second phase of six blocks,” he said.
National Housing and Social Amenities director planning and designing, Mr Clive Marimo, said the incomplete flats under phase one left under the First Republic will have 48 units and then phase two will have 768 units.
A representative of one of the contractors, Mr Brandon Ngono, said: “We are grateful to the Second Republic for having faith in youths. It was rare previously that we would be afforded an opportunity to carry projects of such magnitude including flats and road constructions.”
A youthful female quantity surveyor said: “The quantity surveying field was previously male dominated, but now l am glad that as women we are penetrating. I am grateful to the Government for trusting us as youths to carry such a project.”