Local Governance

Government to shelter illegally, dangerously settled families


By Nyasha Mutena

Government is finalising the process of identifying and quantifying households in irregular and dysfunctional settlements, in local authorities and on wetlands, including in flood-prone areas. The exercise, which is being done diligently to ensure that only deserving beneficiaries are registered for relocation will be complete in ten days.

This was revealed during the 2nd Decision matrix, post cabinet briefing on Tuesday 16 February 2020. Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Senator Monica Mutsvangwa highlighted that 2 vulnerable categories are earmarked for this timely intervention by government.

“The first category is of families currently illegally settled dangerously on land. These will be relocated as soon as the identified destinations have been prepared and equipped with services, in order to pave way for the demolition of their illegal structures.

“The second category shall be for those families settled on land suitable for urban development but which requires regularisation and the provision of basic municipal services,” said Senator Mutsvangwa.

She was deliberating Vice President Constantino G.D.N Chiwenga’s submissions to Cabinet as Chairman of the Enhanced Cabinet Committee on Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Management.
Senator Mutsvangwa mentioned that the housing construction project will be funded from Devolution coffers, whereas financial instruments which will encourage the private sector to participate in infrastructural development are being designed, particularly for housing.

“Existing urban regeneration programmes are being revived for building flats in places such as Mbare in Harare, Makokoba in Bulawayo, and Sakubva in Mutare and other cities. In future, up to 40% of all housing settlements in urban areas will follow the high-rise model for densification which frees land for industries, schools, clinics, recreational centres and other social development aspects. In addition, Government is in the process of deploying to all provinces personnel with the requisite skills in physical planning, infrastructure development and environmental management,” said Senator Mutsvangwa.

Zimbabwe, once a rural based economy has incurred a dramatic rise in rural-urban migration over the years. Whilst urbanization, industrialization and technological developments provide societies with better living conditions, they also exert intense pressure on the environment causing degradation of the natural environment. They also cause the detrimental continuous use of natural resources and increase of pollution. It is these factors which make it imperative to attach more importance to cities in environmental conservation studies and to adopt an ecological approach in city planning.

More so, understanding the physical vulnerability of buildings and infrastructure to natural hazards is an essential step in risk assessment for large cities. Mapping vulnerability will help pinpoint strategic areas in case of future destructive floods or flows. Calculated vulnerability is high if examination of structural criteria is done.

Technical teams comprising experts from the Zimbabwe Geospatial and Space Agency and the Environmental Management Agency in collaboration with the relevant Ministries are expected to take about two and half months to complete the mapping exercise. Similarly, the delineation of the country’s wetlands has already started. A National Wetlands Policy has been prepared as part of the wider strategy to protect the country’s multi-faceted habitats and ensure sustainable management of the natural environment and resources.

Meanwhile, Cabinet approved the repair of roads damaged by the current rains as well as previous cyclones. It approved an Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme consisting of corrective, preventive and restoration works. The project will take up an initial US$80 million for emergency road works covering 60 days; US$120 million for preventive works spanning 6 months; US$120 million for rehabilitation and reconstruction works spanning 6 to 18 months; and US$80 million for other related works spanning 18 to 36 months.