The Sunday Mail
Charlotte Musarurwa Municipal Reporter
Government says it will accelerate housing development programmes through public and private partnerships in line with Zim Asset, with a target of 125 000 housing units set to be built over the next five years.
This comes amid a housing deficit with a housing backlog estimated at over 500 000.
Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Dr Ignatius Chombo made the remarks in Chitungwiza last week during a tour of the illegal settlements on wetlands in Chitungwiza.
“The new economic blue print Zim Asset focuses on acceleration of public and private partnerships to fund economic revival infrastructural development.
“For the housing sector, the blue print targets 125 000 housing units by all players in the next five years with a target of 25 000 units,” he said.
“My ministry will exceptionally prepare land and plans guided by city planning frameworks. We want well planned cities which are easy to live in and travel in. People should now stop all fraudulent land sales by self styled baron who sell land that does not belong to them,” said Minister Chombo.
Minister Chombo said his ministry has also availed peri-urban farms to local authorities, mainly Chitungwiza and Harare, to allocate stands to those who are on the waiting list.
According to the revised housing policy, the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, which supervises the local authorities, hosts the national spatial planning agency and administers urban state land.
As such, it is the custodian of settlement development standards.
Minister Chombo added that all housing co-operatives funds will now be managed through banks to avoid being duped. The co-operatives have been used as a mode of housing delivery for low income earners.
“The housing co-operative sector was being used as a mode of delivery to the extent that it is one of the leading vehicles for low income earners in terms of volume, with the liquidity challenges that we are currently facing.”
“Banks will now become financial managers for housing cooperatives hence co-operatives will pay directly into the accounts held at banks or building societies to avoid abuse of funds.
“Efforts are also being done to secure lines of credit through banks to develop land,” said Minister Chombo.
President Mugabe launched the revised housing policy last year to make housing affordable to the majority.
The revised policy is aimed at developing self-contained human settlements with housing, commercial and industrial facilities at the periphery of major urban centres as a means of de-congesting cities.
The housing policy seeks to indigenise the country’s housing delivery sector, while guiding and harmonising all the activities.