Lloyd Gumbo Senior Reporter
Government is prioritising low- income earners and the elderly on various housing projects that will be implemented soon as part of efforts to address the housing backlog.
Zimbabwe has a housing backlog of about 1,2 million, with unscrupulous land barons and bogus cooperatives fleecing thousands of home-seekers of millions of dollars in botched housing deals.
Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere said Government was implementing a number of housing projects that would be affordable for low-income earners.
He made the remarks in the National Assembly on Wednesday while responding to questions on what mechanisms Government was putting in place to protect low-income earners.
Minister Kasukuwere said they would construct some of the houses on land provided by the Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement.
“I would like to express some gratitude to the Ministry of Lands and Rural Settlement which has allocated a lot of farms, those which are near urban areas such as Harare.
“In other words, the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, together with the development cooperation and other developers, we are now working on the land; servicing it for distribution to people.
“We are also working on a process of giving access to the low income earners and the poor so that they can afford decent housing. We also have areas like Highfield where old people have been staying, and are now crowded.
“What we are saying is, we now want to decongest these areas by removing the elderly people who are staying with their grandchildren and move them into areas which are wider and where bigger houses can be built,” he said.
Minister Kasukuwere said his ministry would ensure that the land was directed to the low income earners and the vulnerable groups.
“As a Government, we want to develop our country,” he said.
“We are looking at ways so that the low income earners, the poor and vulnerable groups can access decent accommodation.”
In line with this quest, Government introduced a new national housing scheme for low and middle-income earners, the Home Ownership Scheme, which will see the construction of high-rise flats and servicing land for sale to people on the housing waiting list.
This is in line with the Zim-Asset target of 313 000 houses countrywide by 2018, while Harare province is expected to build 105 935 houses.
The programme kick-starts in Harare in Dzivaresekwa where 640 flat units would be constructed, 524 flat units in Tafara and 880 flat units in Prospect, while the Government is set to repossess all underutilised residential State land given to housing cooperatives and private land developers countrywide.