COALITION for Market and Liberal Solutions (Comaliso) has lobbied Parliament to enact the Right to Shelter Act to afford Zimbabweans the right to legitimate settlements and shelter.
The country is currently witnessing an unprecedented growth in the number of urban dwellers lacking decent shelter and property title, triggering the sprouting of informal settlements countrywide.
Government earlier this year promised to dish out title deeds to thousands of informal settlers in areas around Harare and other parts of the country, but later backtracked. Government has also promised to avail at least 1 000 houses every month over the coming years.
Comaliso executive director Rejoice Ngwenya said the Act would harmonise all laws related to property rights and title deeds.
“Our desire to present our case to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Local Government is that Parliamentarians spend more time informing their constituents on property rights. Moreover, the ‘Right to Shelter Act’ will not only make it easier or less expensive to acquire title but also millions of poor urban citizens will legitimately own homes which enhances their wealth status,” he said.
Ngwenya said research conducted over five years, consulting thousands of poor citizens in rural and inner-city areas on the subjects of property rights, right to shelter and title deeds indicated that every Zimbabwean adult wanted to have a place they legitimately call their own.
“This desire is causing ‘stampede’ into informal settlements that ends up violating many laws, either due to ignorance on the part of the prospective homeowner or ‘arrogant ignorance’ on the part of the housing co-operative, property ‘developer’ or corrupt public official.
“The ‘Right to Shelter Act’ must essentially glean its potency from such laws as the National Constitution, Urban Councils Act (Chapter 29:15), Environment Management Act, Deeds Registries Act (Chapter 20:05), Land Survey Act (Chapter 20:12), Land Commission Act (Chapter 20:29), Land Acquisition Act (Chapter 20:10), Environment Management Act (Chapter 20:27), Roads Act (Chapter 13:18) Water Act (Chapter 20:24), Regional, Town and Country Planning Act (Chapter 29:12) and of course the land subdivision policies,” Ngwenya.
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