LOCAL Government minister July Moyo has disclosed plans to roll out a command housing project to ease the country’s residential accommodation shortages.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
Addressing Parliament last week, Moyo said government was also planning to revamp the old suburbs that have dilapidated structures.
The country’s housing backlog is estimated at 1,3 million, with Harare alone requiring close to 500 000 units.
Harare Central MP Murisi Zwizwai (MDC-T) had asked Moyo to explain when government will introduce the construction of houses using timber just like in developed countries.
“We have very few trees in Zimbabwe, and in America and Canada, they have plenty of trees as compared to the ones that we have in Zimbabwe; and I am saying so because I once worked with a bias towards tree programming,” Moyo said.
The minister also claimed that construction of brick houses was cheaper than timber houses.
“If we were to look at the cost of the price of bricks for construction instead of using wood, we will build structures that are much cheaper from bricks as opposed to timber,” he said.
The minister said the timber available in the country was used for roofing trusses and was very expensive compared to bricks. He said in developed countries like US builders were also trained in carpentry, while in Zimbabwe they were only trained in brick laying, which meant it would be difficult for local builders to construct timber houses.
Kadoma Central MP Fani Phiri (Zanu PF) then asked Moyo to explain how government would deal with old towns and cities, where some families live in overcrowded conditions, and were still using communal toilets.
Moyo said the command housing programme would look at housing expansion in new areas, as well as in old townships.
“We are almost advanced in planning for the launch of a housing programme that will take care of not only the new houses but, also concentrate on building flats, so that we do not continue to gobble arable land,” Moyo said.
The minister said in the old suburbs government was planning to build flats as part of the housing expansion programme.