THE Zimbabwe Institute of Regional and Urban Planners says it has offered to collaborate with government and local authorities to regularise several informal settlements that have sprouted in most urban centres to ensure they met acceptable planning standards.
In a statement yesterday, president of the institute Percy Toriro said the gesture was meant to restore sanity and address the problems associated with illegal developments mostly in peri-urban centres.
“Illegal developments that are coming up in Harare and Bulawayo’s urban fringes, namely Domboshava, Seke, Umguza and Goromonzi and admittedly many of these settlements, are being driven by the high demand for housing that is not being matched by delivery,” Toriro said
“Unfortunately this is only a temporary solution as developments done in this manner do not guarantee secure tenure for the people. Our institute will work closely with central government and local authorities to ensure that order is restored in the interest of promoting order, amenity, public health, and sustainable development.”
Toriro warned that illegal developments further pushed down the country’s ranking on the global Doing Business Environment Index.
“Planning has a huge part to play as our members issue development permits, approve building plans, and contribute to the issuance of licences,” Toriro said, “Zimbabwe desperately needs both local and foreign investment and we want to facilitate a transparent, clear, fast and friendly environment for investment.”
The illegal settlements have further added pressure on onsite and offsite infrastructure challenges in urban areas.
“These challenges are either the water, sewer, or roads infrastructure is decayed or no longer has capacity to support growth and thus there is need to come up with a strategy to address these because without the supporting infrastructure, our settlements are neither competitive nor sustainable,” Toriro warned.
Government last year froze all developmental projects at all unplanned settlements in Chitungwiza and Seke as a measure to stem illegal developments.