No allocation of unserviced stands as they result in mushrooming of illegal settlements: Harare City Council

By Phillipa Jaja

Harare City Council has said it will not allocate unserviced land because this has created a lot of problems by promoting the mushrooming of illegal settlements.

This is despite having only allocated 56 stands since January amid a housing waiting list standing at 11 282 active members as at 31 December 2022.

The council suspended land allocations in 2021 after several top housing officials, including a housing director and two acting directors, were arrested on corruption charges.

Giving his first-quarter 2023 report last week, Harare Mayor Jacob Mafume said the city was finalising the Human Settlement Policy which will enable the unveiling of the new housing models to be implemented.

“The City is finalising the Human Settlement Policy which is coming in as a review to the current Housing Policy. We will then unveil the new housing models that the City will implement going forward particularly as we seek to address the outstanding issues in the pay schemes that are operational in Harare.

“Going forward the City will not allocate unserviced land because this has created a lot of problems and has promoted the mushrooming of illegal settlements.

“We will during this quarter capacitate our Department of Works with the requisite plant and equipment for us to be able to service land. The capacitation will be done using the funds from our Estates Account as governed by the applicable law,” he said.

Regarding new developments within the city council, layout plans for six settlements have since been approved by the Ministry of Local Government as required by the law.

Mafume said beneficiaries are supposed to “pay the appropriate regularization application fee, intrinsic land value, illegal building penalties and property tax accrued since illegal occupation of the land,” on the council’s twitter page yesterday.

He said various stakeholders shall meet again next week to regularize more settlements

“Environmental Management Committee chairperson Counsillor Blessing Duma said a joint EMC and Education, Health, Housing and Community Services and Licensing Committee will meet again next week to regularize more settlements.

“Environmental sensitive areas such as wetlands, heritage sites, and school areas usurped by the illegal developments will not be recommended for regularization.

“Some of the settlements set for regularization in the first phase include Herbert Chitepo, Near Kuwadzana Extension, Crowborough North Consortium and other settlements in Highfield, Westwood, Westlea, Warren Park Hatcliff (UZ), Mufakose, Marlborough, Waterfalls and Chadcombe.”

Meanwhile the city council reiterated that it was not selling residential stands in Harare particularly in Dawn Brooke following reports of land sales by bogus agents claiming to work with the public body.

“We would like to advise all home seekers that we are not selling any residential stands in Harare particularly in Dawn Brooke and we did not contract any agents to sell land on our behalf.

“Council has received several reports of land sales in and around the city by bogus agents who are purporting to be working in conjunction with the City.

“The city does not have such agreements in place with any person or agent hence any homes seeker dealing with the bogus agents risk losing their hard-earned cash.”

The bogus agents are soliciting for US$250 registration fee then subsequent allocation of home seekers on 300, 600, and 800sqm of land after reaching the number of required people according to a message posted on Harare City Council’s twitter page.

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