Half a million homeless people on Harare’s land waiting list – Mayor

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By Anna Chibamu

ATLEAST half a million home seekers are registered with the Harare City Council’s waiting list, in a city that has seen continued land invasions sometimes at the instigation of politicians past few years.

This was revealed by Harare mayor Herbert Gomba who said Town House was planning on building flats to cater for the housing demand.

“We have around 500 000 land seekers in the capital city,” Gomba said Friday.

“We made a resolution last week to come up with a real figure of those in need of stands. We must come up with a clean list and a correct figure.

“We already have agreed with the local government ministry on the re-generation of some suburbs and areas in the capital.”

After years of chaotic and often corrupt land distribution involving land barons, council and local government officials, council says it is finally moving towards demolition of old inhabitable structures and constructing high rise structures which will accommodate more home seekers.

The plan, which was brought up more than a decade ago by former Local Government Minister Enos Chikowore, was later abandoned after the late minister was implicated in financial and land scandals in the project.

Since then, the city’s land story has been that of one scandal after another with rampant cases of double allocations and wetlands occupation going unchecked.

However, there has been less enthusiasm by authorities to bring the culprits to book amid claims most of the culprits were individuals linked to the ruling Zanu PF party.

Mayor Gomba said structures such as the crowded Matapi flats in Mbare, now home to thousands, will be demolished and new ones constructed as the city moves to regain its “Sunshine City” status once adored by the world.

The MDC official also said Harare shall see the construction of a smaller CBD for each suburb.

Most suburbs however have shopping malls in their localities but the facilities have largely gone under-utilised as businesses prefer the main CBD where business is brisk.

CBD rentals are also said to be lower than those outside the city centre.

Meanwhile, Gomba reiterated that the popular Mupedzanhamo Market in Mbare will not be demolished as widely claimed.

“Mupedzanhamo market is here to stay. We are not going to demolish this market. It is simply a false rumour among people,” added Gomba.

Authorities recently demolished the Copacabana market, the Harare Central market and moved all stall holders to Coca-Cola new market which is yet to be occupied by many traders with enough ablution facilities still to be constructed.