Govt Looks To Using Devolution Funds To Relocate Wetland Dwellers

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By Robert Tapfumaneyi

GOVERNMENT has resolved to use devolution funds to relocate and build new structures for families whose homes and property were destroyed after being submerged in pools of water following heavy rains that have been pounding Harare and the rest of the country recently.

“Cabinet wishes to inform the nation that devolution funds will be used for the housing construction programme,” Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa told journalists at a post-cabinet media briefing in Harare Tuesday.

Mutsvangwa also said government has revised its programme of building flats in high density suburbs such as Mbare in Harare, Makokoba in Bulawayo and Sakubva in Mutare.

Added the minister, “Financial instruments which will encourage the private sector to participate in infrastructural development are being designed, particularly for housing.

“Existing urban regeneration programmes are being revived for building flats in places such as Mbare in Harare, Makokoba in Bulawayo, and Sakubva in Mutare and other cities.”

“In future, up to 40% of all housing settlements in urban areas will follow the high-rise model for densification which frees land for industries, schools, clinics, recreational centres and other social development aspects.

“In addition, government is in the process of deploying to all provinces personnel with the requisite skills in physical planning, infrastructure development and environmental management.”

Commenting on the beneficiaries who will be relocated, Mutsvangwa said a verification process was underway and was set to be completed in the coming 10 days.

“Care is being exercised to ensure that only deserving beneficiaries are registered for relocation,” she said.

“The first category is of families currently illegally settled dangerously on land.

“These will be relocated as soon as the identified destinations have been prepared and equipped with services, in order to pave way for the demolition of their illegal structures.

“The second category shall be for those families settled on land suitable for urban development, but which requires regularisation and the provision of basic municipal services.”

Recent incessant rains exposed the rampant corruption between some state and municipal officials who allocated housing stands in wetlands and low-lying areas often without council approval.