By Farai Dauramanzi
The minister of local government, public works and national housing on Thursday 6 November 2014 launched the Marimba-IDBZ project in the capital to mark the official start of the National Housing Delivery Programme in Harare Metropolitan province.
The National Housing Delivery Program which falls under the Social Services and Poverty Eradication cluster in ZIMASSET was launched in September and aims to build a total of 313 368 housing units across the country by 2018.
105 935 housing units are set to be built in Harare and upon completion in 24 months, the Marimba-IDBZ project is set to deliver 761 housing units of which 429 will be high density, 268 medium density and four flat sites of 16 units each.
Speaking at the launch, Dr Ignatius Chombo the minister of local government, public works and national housing said that Zimbabweans take pride in owning houses they live in and as such this program seeks to fulfil home seekers’ aspirations in that regard.
“My ministry spearheaded the formulation of the national housing delivery programme in line with the ZIM-ASSET agenda. The home ownership approach that underpins the programme seeks to address the plight of low to medium income earners, drawn from the housing waiting lists,” said Dr Chombo.
The country’s housing shortage is said to be 1.25 million units and Minister Chombo explained that the national housing programme was a guide which spells out the roles of each stakeholder in clearing the housing shortage.
“In order to operationalise this program, a guide which spells out the roles to be played by government, local authorities, financial institutions, infrastructure service providers, housing cooperatives and beneficiaries, had to be crafted. In this regard local authorities will administer the land bank whilst local authorities will ensure adherence to building by-laws,” said Dr Chombo.
Dr Chombo explained that the national housing programme provides for local authorities to ensure that allocated housing land is serviced and also for banks to mobilise resources for mortgage financing to potential benefactors.
“This national housing delivery programme is not only going to deliver housing units but, will equally spur economic growth through its various multiplier effects on employment creation and revival of downstream industries. The program is going to create direct and indirect jobs amounting to 1.2 million nationwide,” added Dr Chombo.
Deputy Mayor of Harare Thomas Muzuva said that council was moving in to improve housing delivery and had since set up a committee to approve building plans a process which had been cited by home seekers as a hindrance to quick housing delivery.
“We realise that the urban economy needs affordable shelter to cater for the people who come to the urban centre to work, go to school and for holiday. As such the property market should respond effectively and responsibly through the provision of decent social housing that caters for the whole social strata,” added Muzuva.
Harare’s housing backlog is estimated at over 500 000 which the Deputy Mayor said was being addressed by council’s on-going housing projects which include the Waneka project in Mbare George Stark, Glaudina project with NSSA, Fidelity Manresa, the recently commissioned Budiriro project with CABS and a host of other housing projects.
For years now, affordable housing has been a major problem in the country especially in Harare and it is every home seeker’s hope that the housing program comes to fruition.