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Zimbabwe govt starts issuing title deeds

by Staff reporter
15 May 2022 at 06:11hrs | Views
Government has started regularising informal urban settlements by issuing title deeds, with residents in Caledonia, Harare, being the first to benefit following the completion of aerial mapping of the suburb.

Over 3 000 residents are due to receive title to their properties, which have been deemed suitable for permanent settlement.

Around 20 homeowners have since collected their title deeds after settling outstanding land purchasing fees due to the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works, with more expected to follow suit in the coming weeks.

Caledonia was built on State land.

The exercise is set to be progressively rolled out in 15 other urban settlements that include Eye Court, Retreat and Hopley in Harare, Cowdray Park in Bulawayo and several others in Karoi, Mutare and Masvingo.

Geospatial mapping is still ongoing in some of the settlements.

The exercise is being spearheaded by the Ministry Local Government, as well as the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development.

President Mnangagwa last year undertook to facilitate the issuance of title deeds to residents of informal urban settlements in an effort to bring order to urban housing.

The Ministry of Local Government confirmed to The Sunday Mail that the process had begun.

"We have started engaging residents in Caledonia. Caledonia has 21 phases and as the ministry, we have started engaging those in phases that were built in an orderly manner, which at the moment are only five phases," said the ministry. We are still working with the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development in other phases of Caledonia where there are dysfunctional settlements.

"At the moment, we have 3 395 households that we are engaging and are suitable to get title deeds in Caledonia. They will have to finish up purchasing the land and they will receive their title deeds. The mapping has revealed that there are some areas that need to be regularised before title deeds can be issued.

"However, at the moment, we are facing challenges because some of the people who are entitled to receive title deeds do not have the funds. There is also need to educate our people on the purpose and importance of title deeds."

Higher and Tertiary Education Permanent Secretary Professor Fanuel Tagwira said mapping of settlements was underway.

"We have so far completed Cowdray Park in Bulawayo, Victoria Range in Masvingo, Gimboki in Mutare and in Karoi," said Prof Tagwira.

"Regularisation will be done by the Ministry of Local Government together with the Ministry of National Housing.

"In Harare, we completed Caledonia, Saturday Retreat and Hopley. We are yet to map Hatfield, but all preparations to map the settlement were done and we are waiting for the flight programme from the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe because of its location near the airport."

Harare Residents Trust director Mr Precious Shumba said title deeds empower residents.

"A title deed is the highest degree of property ownership. It gives title to stand owners and is a form of empowerment. They are essential as they empower individuals and owners to be in control of their property," he said.

"The significance of this move is a historical development in that it moves away from the elitist policies of the erstwhile colonial government. People with title deeds can apply for loans using them. The Government should continue issuing title deeds and move away from the colonial-era policies where people were deprived of the right to own a piece of land. This is a major release of power.

Last year, Government launched the Zimbabwe National Human Settlements Policy(ZNHSP), a programme that aims to spearhead the development of modern and affordable urban and rural human settlement and social amenities in a coordinated and sustainable manner.

Under ZNHSP, the country aims to build 225 000 housing units by 2025.

Source - The Sunday Mail
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