By Bulawayo Correspondent
THE government is redesigning all informal housing settlements in urban and peri-urban areas in a move meant to sanctify the illegal structures and give ownership to the occupiers.
Informal housing settlements with no sewer and water reticulation systems, electricity and have damaged roads, have mushroomed in almost every town and city in Zimbabwe.
However, speaking to senior council officials from Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and South provinces, Housing Minister Daniel Garwe said his government will not demolish the illegal settlements but will hire engineers to redevelop and redesign all informal housing sites.
“We are not going to demolish as said by the opposition forces but we are going to bring in planners and engineers to design roads that suit the developments that have taken place,” the minister said.
“Of course one or two homes would be sacrificed where a road must be constructed. Be that as it may, those people would be resettled.”
The minister went on to blame private land developers and housing cooperatives for creating the mushrooming illegal settlements.
“In 2000, the government invited private land developers and cooperative leaders to come and join them to provide much-needed services and infrastructure.
“They were given tracts and tracts of land to sell as stands to home seeking people. Alas, this is not what we expected. They decided to sell the unserviced land to desperate home seekers.
“They decided in some instances to double or multi allocate the same piece of land to several people. That created a lot of chaos which we are seeing in every urban area right now,” said Garwe.
He also warned land barons to desist from selling State land saying their days were numbered.
“Government has now taken a deliberate and very critical position that land barons must be brought to book. They must dance to the tune or else be kicked out.
“Going forward, we are also sanitising all informal settlements and the national housing ministry, in collaboration with the ministries of Local Government, Home Affairs, and Justice,” he added.