The Chitungwiza Residents’ Trust (Chitrest) received, with a sigh of relief, reports of the government ban on allocating land to developers and housing co-operatives. This follows the dismal failure by most land developers and housing co-operatives to manage the allocation of stands and housing development.
Chitungwiza Residents’ Trust
Thousands of prospective home-owners lost money to bogus land developers, barons and housing co-operatives through either double allocations of housing stands or being settled on illegal land. The mushrooming of informal settlements in most urban areas has resulted in house demolitions and forced evictions with Harare Metropolitan Province being principally affected.
Chitrest, nevertheless, holds the government responsible for all the mess that had been left obtaining for years in the housing delivery sector, as it failed to regulate the activities of land developers, barons and housing co-operatives through a housing policy framework.
The government, after failing on its mandate to “enable every person to have access to adequate shelter” as stipulated in section 28 of the Constitution, then surrendered its obligations to profit-driven players.
Of grave concern is the appointment by government of the Urban Development Corporation (Udcorp) to be responsible for housing provision and infrastructural development at a time when the majority of parastatals are struggling and failing to deliver their mandates owing to lack of funding, thus Udcorp is also bound to fail.
In 2015, Udcorp was assigned to bring sanity to Chitungwiza’s land management issues, but the mayhem continued unabated, even after the parastatal’s intervention.
The issuance of estate development powers and authority inside or outside a council area or in a local government area, that is, the ceding of administration, control and management to Udcorp, is a violation of the Urban Councils Act (29:15). It is also in contravention of the provisions of section 264 of the Constitution on the devolution of governmental powers and responsibilities.
We call upon the Government of Zimbabwe to bring all stakeholders in housing provision together and amicably solve all disputes relating to the chaotic nature of the land allocation and management systems in most urban areas.
Some of the key stakeholders include, but are not limited to, local authorities, land developers, the business community, housing co-operatives, the financial services sector, development partners, residents’ representatives such as residents associations and civil society organisations among others.