Govt maps way forward on dysfunctional urban settlements

18 Feb, 2022 - 00:02 0 Views
Govt maps way forward on dysfunctional urban settlements Regarding the regularisation of settlements on farms with disputed ownership, the nation is advised that there has been some progress on the options approved by Cabinet.


GOVERNMENT is mapping the way forward on dysfunctional urban settlements as announced by Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa at the weekly post-Cabinet media briefing in Harare on Tuesday this week. Minister Mutsvangwa’s statement below:

Cabinet received an update on the aerial mapping of dysfunctional urban settlements and report on the regularisation of dysfunctional, illegal and irregular settlements as presented by the Vice President, Chairman of the Enhanced Cabinet Committee on Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Management.

The nation is informed that the exercise on the mapping of dysfunctional urban settlements commenced with Caledonia settlement and then proceeded to Harare South. Cabinet notes that construction works on the Treasury-funded four (4) 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. 

On the 18 blocks of flats to be constructed by the private sector, the Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities is currently working with the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ) to finalise the engagement of contractors for the provision of roads, water and sewer infrastructure. 

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. 

Turning to the legacy matter on planned settlements lacking basic services, Cabinet reports that 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.

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 (8) 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). 

Regarding the regularisation of settlements on farms with disputed ownership, the nation is advised that there has been some progress on the options approved by Cabinet at its 34th Meeting held on 5th 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.

In accordance with Cabinet’s directive that households irregularly settled on wetlands and areas reserved for servitudes and social amenities be prioritised in every relocation exercise, the nation is informed that the procurement of tentage is underway. Two evacuation centres which can accommodate 200 people each have been constructed in Chimanimani and Chipinge Districts of Manicaland Province, while the identification of evacuation sites has been completed in other provinces.  I am pleased to report that the Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities is actively pursuing the adoption of new construction technology capable of delivering a house in a mere five days, since tents can only provide a stop-gap solution. 

The nation is informed that the directive by His Excellency the President for title to be issued to compliant home-owners in Caledonia and Harare South is being implemented. It is hoped that  the issuance of title will encourage the private sector and other investors to participate in housing provision schemes. 

In light of the foregoing, CABINET approved as follows:

(a)  that, since most of the Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle schemes were handed over to local authorities, cash disbursements be provided to the local authorities directly as part of their Devolution funding, including the US$81 million (ZW$10 billion) intended for off-site and on-site infrastructure as directed by Cabinet in 2021; and

(b)  that the Musha/Muzi financing model as proposed by the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency and approved by Cabinet in 2021 be actively pursued in order to augment housing provision through private sector and citizen participation.

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