Enacy Mapakame and Tawanda Musarurwa
Government is targeting to deliver at least 470 000 housing units across the country within the next decade as part of efforts to alleviate the housing shortages, a senior official has said.
This will be implemented under the National Housing Delivery Programme.
National Housing and Social Amenities Minister Daniel Garwe told stakeholders at the official opening of the Shelter Afrique Centre of Excellence Master Class Zimbabwe Chapter that Government was cognisant of the challenge be-devilling the country especially on availability of decent shelter.
As the Minister responsible for provision of shelter, he said his Ministry and various stakeholders were therefore inundated with the need to provide decent housing for Zimbabweans, especially in urban centres where the shortages are prevalent. The national housing deficit currently stands at 1,3 million, according to the 2020 Zimbabwe Infrastructure Investment Programme.
“As a country, we strive to put roofs over heads of all our people as ascribed in our constitution,” he said yesterday.
“The country is currently ceased with implementation of the National Housing Delivery programme which endeavours to roll out 470 000 housing units in the next 10 years,” he said.
Housing shortages is not a challenge unique to Zimbabwe alone but prevalent across Sub Sahara Africa as rapid urbanisation happened in the past two decades.
It is estimated that African cities add almost 40 000 people every day due to the rural to urban migration as people search for employment in urban centres.
Poor financing models have been one of the major challenges affecting African governments from taking the leading role in provision of affordable housing solutions especially for the lower income earners.
Apart from poor financing models, the rising effects of climate change have also been a cause for concern as natural disasters such as flooding have damaged the already existing infrastructure, further widening the housing deficit in the country.
In line with this, Minister Garwe said Government was looking at incorporating new technologies that ensures settlements are disaster-proof to avoid loss or damage of properties as well as renewable energy sources.
In March this year, tropical cyclone Idai caused severe damages to properties as well as loss of lives in the country especially in the Chimanimani in the Manicaland Province.
“In the wake of natural disasters, that is, the devastating Cyclone Idai of March 2019, we would want to rebuild stronger structures and in light of this, my Ministry is intending on engaging relevant stakeholders in the architecture and engineering fraternity, as well as those for the initial spatial planning who will ultimately determine where such settlements will be located,” he said.
Minister Garwe also added that Government would rein in on land barons as well as regularise the current settlements as measures to bring sanity in urban centres.
This will ensure new developments have the necessary infrastructure developments before residents can move in, for instance decent road networks, sewer and electricity infrastructure, as opposed to the current developments with none of these essentials.
“From today onwards, there will be no more settlements without proper development. We also want to regularise those already existing settlements because they will not be ideal in achieving our 2030 goals,” he said.
His comments come as a Government appointed Land Commission this week revealed that the State was prejudiced of over US$3 billion in corrupt state land sales over the past 15 years, with land barons pocketing most of that money.
The six-member Commission, headed by Justice Tendai Uchena, was set up in 2018 to investigate the sale of urban state land since 2005.
Presenting the Commission’s findings, Justice Uchena said state land valued at around US$3,4 billion had been sold to various beneficiaries during the period under review.
“Government has recovered less than 10 percent of the value (of the sold land) and is owed almost US$3 billion by beneficiaries,” said Justice Uchena.