Blessings Chidakwa Municipal Correspondent
Government has set a target to build at least 100 000 houses every year, while at the same time intensifying the war against land barons.
Plans are afoot to introduce a new rule under which both the land baron and the one who buys fraudulently acquired land will be prosecuted.
To achieve the target of 100 000 houses, Government says it plans to avail land to private businesses with the necessary financial resources who will service the stands under a public private partnership.
Again, the Government will set minimum standards for the houses and flats in line with President Mnangwagwa’s vision for Zimbabwe to attain middle income economy status by 2030.
Yesterday, during a tour of Mabvazuva Housing Scheme under Goromonzi Rural District Council, Housing and Social Amenities Minister Daniel Garwe said the council’s partnership with Exodus and Company was an example of how public private partnerships can work.
“They (Exodus and Company) are basically developing land which we availed to them, providing on-site and off-site infrastructure, roads, water and sewer reticulation. We have actually added another requirement, renewable energy. Going to 2030 we need at least modernity in terms of design and modernity in terms of materials that are being used.
“We also need houses or structures that stand the effects of climate change and we have a standard design that we have agreed on with developers.
“The target that we were given by Government is 100 000 per year, but because of other challenges, if we achieve between 20 000 to 30 000 per year we would have done well.”
Minister Garwe said land barons will be tracked and prosecuted.
“Gone are the days where people are going to be buying stands from illegal dealers or land barons; that is a thing of the past.
“Anyone who is going to be seen or if we hear that there is a transaction between a home-seeker and an illegal land developer, both of them will go to jail because the home-seeker would have participated in an illegal deal knowing very well that he or she is being fleeced.
“We do not want to continue aiding the enemy or land baron in fleecing the home-seekers of their hard earned money. Caledonia is a classic example of how people have been fleeced of their hard-earned money,” he said.
Minister Garwe said the issue of land barons requires a collective approach.
“One of the issues we must address collectively is this issue of land barons. We know they were created a couple of years back.
“They are causing confusion, fleecing money from desperate home-seekers. That is going to be a thing of the past.
“We are aware of the settlements where land barons have been championing developments which are illegal right now, where there is no development, no roads, no sewers. There is absolutely nothing,” he said.
Minister Garwe said people who have already built houses will not have these demolished, but Government will chip in to assist in regularisation, specifically in the provision of the required services like roads and water network systems.
“Where there is need to provide such facilities (roads), we may need to demolish a house or two because there must be a road. In such cases people will be compensated,” he said.
Exodus and Company yesterday handed over 180 commonage residential stands to the Government which were received by Minister Garwe, who said civil servants will be accorded top priority in getting them.