The recent parceling out of land to Zanu PF youth could lead to the creation of yet another slum settlement in Harare considering that most of the beneficiaries are unemployed and do not have the resources to develop standard housing.
In July, Zanu PF promised housing stands in Harare to thousands of party youth who had marched through Harare’s CBD. Deputy Secretary for Youth, Kudzanai Chipanga, told the gathered youth that President Robert Mugabe had availed farms for subdivision into residential stands.
“The stands are not meant for Zanu PF members only, but for everyone and as I speak 300 hectares are ready in Bulawayo for housing stands allocation and another 1,300 will be made available. Here in Harare, the President has given us 1,000 hectares,” said Chipanga.
Harare News has established that the designated 1,000 hectares in Harare are located in Shawasha B, Norton, and Harare South. It has also been reported that the government will contract Urban Development Corporation (UDCORP) to develop the land although the precise details of this arrangement were unavailable at the time of going to press.
A Zanu PF youth league member from Harare South who refused to be named, told Harare News that the youth had been assured that the land would soon be developed with roads, a sewer system and a water supply installed.
“The leadership is saying stands will be fully developed with roads and water but it is not clear if we will get assistance to help build the houses. It is our wish that the government put in place some kind of loan scheme so that we can build good structures,” he said.
Harare News spoke to Member of Parliament for Harare South Shadreck Mashayamombe, who could not shed any light on development plans for the youth stands, though he did confirm that part of the land allocated was in his constituency.
With City of Harare battling against sub-standard and illegal settlements in Hopley, Caledonia, Crowborough, Churu, and Eyestone among others, these developments could further add to existing slum settlements. This is a serious concern since the majority of people set to benefit from this land distribution are unemployed youth who do not have the resources to develop and build proper houses that resonate with Harare’s vision for a world class city by 2025.
National Residents Forum Coordinator Denford Ngadziore has explained that such initiatives needed proper planning and cooperation from land developers and the local authority to avoid the escalation of sub-standard settlements in Harare.
“It would be good for these new housing stands to be properly developed with roads, a sewer system and water supply so that they do not become risk areas for disease outbreaks,” said Ngadziore.
In related news, City of Harare recently expressed concern over Harare’s illegal settlements in a statement released on 19 August. Acting Town Clerk Josephine Ncube urged those occupying land illegally to vacate those areas as council had issued enough warnings and are now going to take action.
“By this notice we are calling on all people that have invaded Crowborough, Churu, and Eyestone Farms to move out on their own before we take action. Allowing people to stay on Crowborough Farm is a travesty of justice. The farm is used for waste water treatment. This means any human settlement on that farm is a huge risk to the health of all Harare residents,” reads the statement in part.