Felex Share Senior Reporter
President Mnangagwa yesterday toured Matapi Flats in Mbare, Harare, to inspect renovations being undertaken by the Government as his administration fulfils its promise to refurbish the dilapidated hostels.
The Head of State and Government visited the area last year, a few days before the July 30 elections after an inferno left 65 families homeless and promised to provide decent homes for the people of Mbare.
The refurbishment is being done under the framework of the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP), which has the provision of decent housing among priority projects together with power generation, water and sanitation, and transport and communication.
Government is carrying out the renovations in partnership with Harare City Council with the works being done by FGC Singapore.
President Mnangagwa said he was satisfied with the progress, adding that all the blocks in Mbare will get a facelift.
“Remember that last year one block was burnt, I visited the place and promised residents there that I will look into the renovation of that block as well as the rest around that place,” he said.
“When I visited the place, I discovered that they (flats) were very dilapidated, so I made arrangements with the company that you saw there who have so far attended to three or four blocks. They are going to all of the blocks around there. It was an issue of me inspecting progress to satisfy myself that what I asked them to do is what they are doing. We will revamp and renovate those places.”
Each block houses more than 500 people.
President Mnangagwa said Harare City Council should find alternative places for people to stay for the few days the blocks were being renovated.
Residents are reportedly resisting to be moved for fear that they will not be allowed back.
“The constraint which is there is not of the company, it is on people staying in those rooms,” he said.
“It’s very difficult for them to be moved away, some of them are resisting and they need only to be removed for a week or two such that the place gets renovated and they come back. On the part of the Harare City Council, it is the one that should move these people. A section must be moved, put in another place where they can stay for the week or two weeks and be brought back. I have been discussing with officials and we agreed that they will be doing it in sections. They take a section, people are removed for a while, the place is painted, floors are repaired, toilets are done, lights reconfigured and people come back to a decent place.”
Renovation works being done involve the painting of the building, rehabilitation of the sewer and water system and the painting of the pre-cast wall which surrounds council offices.
City council offices and Matapi Clinic have also received restoration.
Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister July Moyo said provision of decent accommodation was President Mnangagwa’s priority as the nation moves towards attaining Vision 2030.
“This is the President’s initiative after he visited this area last year when he wanted to have an appreciation of how the people in Mbare were living,” he said.
“He then said as Government we have to renovate Matapi Flats such that they become habitable. That’s his vision. This work, being done by FGC Singapore, is just the beginning of good works to come. When real work begins, you will see that it won’t be Matapi only but even the market stalls will be refurbished. The President’s vision involves having a smart city.”
FGC official Mr Francis Mambo said they had budgeted $1 million for the renovations.
“It will not be just Mbare alone,” he said.
“We have areas like Bulawayo and Mutare and all other places that need to be rehabilitated once given the instruction by the President. You must understand that when he came here in 2018 he promised habitable places and this is the team that has come in. We have done a lot of things. It’s not just painting we gave done the sewer system glazing and general cleaning of the building.”