The Sunday Mail
Emmanuel Kafe and Siphathisiwe Maziwa
The Government has set in motion a massive housing development programme to develop multiple high-rise residential flats to accommodate hundreds of families in the four urban jurisdictions under the Harare Metropolitan province this year.
Authorities have approved the development of 40 blocks of four-storey flats in Epworth and Chitungwiza, which will accommodate over 300 households on completion.
In addition, the Government has also accelerated the ongoing development of residential flats which are under construction in Dzivarasekwa, Highfield, Mabvuku and Marimba suburbs through the National Housing Delivery Programme.
In Prospect, Waterfalls, the construction of 10 high-rise flats is also set to commence during the first quarter of this year following an invitation last year by the Government for bids from private developers interested in undertaking the project.
Treasury has also committed to fund the construction of five blocks of flats in Ruwa that will accommodate up to 80 families.
The Sunday Mail has gathered that a high-level inter-Ministerial committee has been set up to oversee the historic housing project, which will avail affordable housing for hundreds of families. The project is set to be replicated countrywide.
Provision of low-cost housing was one of ZANU PF’s central campaign promises during the 2018 harmonised elections.
Secretary for Provincial Affairs and Devolution for Harare Metropolitan province Mr Tafadzwa Muguti said an implementation matrix has already been developed to guide the execution of the programme.
“Central Government has committed to fund the construction of flats in all the four urban jurisdictions in Harare Metropolitan province (Harare, Chitungwiza, Epworth and Ruwa) under the National Housing Delivery Programme,” said Mr Muguti.
“Chitungwiza and Epworth were allocated 20 blocks of flats each.
“Each block will comprise 16 apartments, implying that the 20 blocks of flats per local authority will accommodate a total of 320 households.
“The designs provide for four-storey walk-up flats”.
Construction of the flats, he said, will be funded by Treasury.
Mr Muguti said construction sites for the Chitungwiza and Epworth projects have been identified, while development of the flats’ designs was underway.
“The province has formulated an action matrix to guide the implementation of the programme.
“An inter-Ministerial committee has identified sites for the construction of flats in Chitungwiza and Epworth.
“The Department of Public Works has been working on the designs of the flats.
“The Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities has been seized with funding matters.
“Respective local authorities have been working on provision of municipal infrastructure services to the sites that includes access roads, water, sewer and refuse collection,” he said.
His office has instituted monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to ensure efficient co-ordination and expeditious delivery of project.
In addition to the housing development programme, said Mr Muguti, the Government was also undertaking the Urban Regeneration Programme that seeks to revamp dilapidated housing in the province.
The programme has already commenced in Mbare.
“Government and local authorities have been allocating land to private developers and housing cooperatives for the provision of housing,” he said.
“In these schemes, civil servants have benefited from commonage stands surrendered by the allottees.
“Government has identified land for the relocation of households settled on unsuitable areas as well as those affected by flooding.
“The province, through its development trajectory – the Provincial Economic Development Plan (2021-2025) – is promoting the participation of public and private sectors as well as civic organisations in housing provision in line with agreed funding models that incorporate Joint Ventures and Public-Private Partnerships.
“In all new housing schemes, the province has adopted Government’s densification policy by reserving up to 40 percent of all housing land for high-rise apartments.”
The Government has committed itself to delivering 220 000 housing units by 2025, as prescribed under the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1).
President Mnangagwa launched the Zimbabwe National Human Settlements Policy (ZNHSP) in October last year.
The policy recognises that sustainable human settlements development is an engine for economic growth through various avenues such as employment creation in the construction industry.
The national housing backlog is estimated at 1,3 million housing units in urban areas.