Harare (New Ziana) – Government unveiled plans on Tuesday to build alternative housing units, at a cost of US$500 million, for urban residents settled in flood prone areas.
Due to an overwhelming demand for houses, most people have resorted to building in unregularised and sometimes inhospitable areas including wetlands which are prone to flooding.
In response, the government rolled out plans to regularise such settlements, and prioritised moving families settled in unsafe areas.
But in doing so, government has said no family would be moved without alternative accommodation having been provided.
In light of that, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said aerial mapping of “dysfunctional,” urban settlements such as Caledonia and Harare South had been conducted.
“Cabinet notes that construction works on the treasury-funded four blocks of flats at Dzivarasekwa (48 units) is now at 70 percent of completion and should be ready for occupation soon. Upon completion, the Dzivarasekwa flats will benefit mainly households currently residing in flood-prone areas such as Budiriro 5 in Harare,” she told journalists at a Post Cabinet Briefing.
“Cabinet advises that works are earmarked to commence on the other 51 housing project sites identified across the ten provinces. The sites are expected to avail 324 blocks of flats yielding a cumulative 5 184 units for emergency settlements. The total cost required for construction of flats up to 2023 amounts to US$377 million. When on-site and off-site infrastructure requirements are considered, the amount reaches US$500 million or ZW$60 billion.”
Mutsvangwa said the private sector was also planning to finance the construction of 18 blocks of flats.
She said government was also seized with completing outstanding work on legacy settlements, such as Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle settlements which lack basic services.
She said focus is being placed on an initial 16 Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle settlements identified countrywide for immediate infrastructural development.
“The cost of providing infrastructure on these 16 prioritised settlements amounts to about US$81 million or approximately ZW$10 billion,” she said.
“Cabinet approved that Ministers of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution actively participate in the development of Garikai / Hlalani Kuhle projects situated in their respective provinces.
“Already, eight local authorities have since been authorised to commence design work for infrastructure development on these sites. The local authorities include Lupane Local Board, Bindura Municipality, Karoi Town Council, Mutare City Council, Marondera Municipality, Hwange Rural District Council (Dete), and Bulawayo City Council (Cowdray Park).”
Mutsvangwa said government was also making headway with regards the regularisation of settlements on farms with disputed ownership.
She said progress had been recorded on the options approved by Cabinet at its 34th Meeting on October, 2021.
“On the option of buying out land owners through offer of compensation, with beneficiaries being asked to contribute to the reimbursement of the land value to Government, negotiations with the owner of Whitecliffe Farm were initiated, and a compensation amount of ZW$4.476 billion was submitted to Treasury.
“The funding is yet to be availed, and deliberations on the modalities of the compensation are ongoing. Pertaining to the allocation of alternative land to affected owners, negotiations have been initiated with the owners of Stoneridge and Ordar Farms. Government mediation efforts are proceeding between land owners and occupiers at farms such as Saturday Retreat to ensure a win-win situation for the parties involved,” she said.
Mutsvangwa said the directive by President Emmerson Mnagagwa for title deeds to be issued to compliant home-owners in Caledonia and Harare South was being implemented.
“It is hoped that the issuance of title will encourage the private sector and other investors to participate in housing provision schemes.”