The Sunday News
Vincent Gono, Features Editor
THE Government is working on rolling out massive housing programmes in and out of urban areas as it gears up efforts of ensuring housing provision amid revelations that it is faced with a national housing waiting list of 1,3 million.
In an interview with Sunday News, National Housing and Social Amenities Minister Cde Daniel Garwe said efforts were being made to ensure that people continue getting appropriate housing through public and private partnerships as resources remain a major impediment for Government to go it alone in housing provision efforts.
“The ministry is working on rolling out massive housing programmes in and out of the urban areas. The country’s housing waiting list is 1,3 million according to aggregated data from the local authorities. This in itself is a clarion call to duty for the ministry and we are alive to the fact that we cannot walk this journey alone. It is common knowledge that the ministry does not have the kind of resources required to clear the said housing backlog. We have since started on a programme of seriously engaging private sector players like blue chip companies on the Stock Exchange, manufacturers, banks and, building societies, parastatals, pension funds, insurance companies, mining houses etc,” said Minister Garwe.
He said the Government does not have the financial muscle to go it alone but it has the land and it would engage development partners under various development models.
“As a ministry, we may not have the quantum of financial resources required to roll out the massive housing projects but we have the land. Various development models like Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) and Build Own Operate and Transfer (BOOT) etc. are being explored. The idea is to come up with models that make business sense to private sector investors. Work is also in progress to expedite the issuing of the title deeds in order to give an assurance on security of investment. Investments in rural housing delivery will be leveraged with land tittle deeds in urban areas,” he said.
The other vision, he said, was to take up vertical expansion as opposed to horizontal.
“As a ministry we are cognisant of the fact that land is a finite resource. To get around with this problem we would want to take the route of optimally utilising available land by going vertical. In that regard, walk up flats for both residential and commercial purposes are quite in order. That route will also help to conserve the environment,” he said.
In response to climate change and its effects on housing structures, the minister said they were engaging architects and engineers through the Zimbabwe Institute of Engineers.
“In the meantime, we are in the process of engaging architects and engineers through the Zimbabwe Institute of Engineers.
“The desire is to come up with modern designs which will withstand the effects of climate change. There is need for innovations in this regard. Such designs with heaped roof and gable roof have been with us for generations. These are some of the designs which may easily give in to the effects of climate change. The time is now for our young architects and engineers to come up with beautiful and attractive designs that speak to the modernity and can withstand the effects of climate change,” said Minister Garwe.