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Govt to regularise informal urban settlements to prevent demolitions

by Staff reporter
31 Dec 2020 at 10:41hrs | Views
GOVERNMENT is set to regularise all informal urban settlements that have mushroomed countrywide in a bid to prevent demolition of houses.

This comes barely a month after about 200 houses build on illegally acquired land in Harare's Budiriro high-density suburb were demolished.

Official documents seen by NewsDay indicate that government has since frozen several development projects across the country until the regularisation exercise has been finalised.

In an interview with NewsDay, National Housing and Social Amenities minister Daniel Garwe said all housing projects going forward, should conform to housing and building standards as stipulated in the Zimbabwe Human Settlements Policy.

He said those who parcel out State land would be prosecuted.

"The issue is we want to do away with land barons who just sell land without providing supporting infrastructure such as water, sewer and roads. We no longer want haphazard development," Garwe said.

"The responsibility to provide off/onsite infrastructure lies with government and local authorities," he said.

Projects that have been earmarked for regularisation include Caledonia in Mash East, Gimboki in Manicaland and Harare South among others.

The ministry has also targeted developing Melfort into a smart city among other highway city projects.

As such, a new housing development project there, known as Diamond Park has since been instructed to stop any further works as the ministry moves in to regularise the whole of Melfort development corridor.

"We don't want to have informal settlements mixed with formal settlements. We want to have a seamless housing and infrastructure programme," Garwe said.

In September, the ministry in a letter signed by then secretary for National Housing Theodius Chinyanga, instructed Diamond Park and East Winds Properties to immediately stop the selling and parcelling out of land to homeseekers as it had been discovered that there was a dispute between the RDC and the developer. The matter is in the courts.

"I want to draw your attention that a meeting was held between the ministries of National Housing and Social Amenities and Local Government on the 21st September in respect of the above subject. In the alluded to meeting, it was agreed that regularisation of Diamond Park will subsist going forward. To that end, the ministry of Local Government and Public Works and the local authority (Goromonzi RDC) will straight away engage with the view to regularise the Melfort housing settlement," read Chinyanga's letter, dated September 22, 2020.

Chinyanga said the entity was not expected to dispose of any stands going forward.

The ministry has started courting potential investors including pension funds, insurance companies and financial institutions which have expressed interest in partnering government in creating a concept to develop Melfort into a smart city.

Government has now come up with a policy which explains its position relative to all matters concerning land barons

The policy states that there will be no issuing out of stands or pieces of land prior to provision of approved layout plans and infrastructure as stated above.

Source - newsday