Harare regularises 17K housing units

Local Government and Public Works minister Winston Chitando revealed this in Parliament during the question and answer session.

CITY of Harare is set to regularise 16 900 housing units before the end of the first quarter.

Local Government and Public Works minister Winston Chitando revealed this in Parliament during the question and answer session.

He informed the House that the Harare City Council (HCC) is in the process of regularising settlements.

“It is of importance to note that the City of Harare passed a resolution to regularise all settlements in Harare that meet town planning standards,” Chitando said.

“It should be noted that the City of Harare is not regularising illegal invasions on council schools, clinic sites and recreational sites. The city has a target to regularise a total 16 900 units by the end of the first quarter of 2024.”

Chitando said the ministry was working closely with HCC in approving the layout plans submitted to the local authority.

He said the City of Harare had established a regularisation steering committee and task force to assess suitability of settlements for regularisation and to undertake the regularisation process.

“The city developed a standard checklist to consider for regularisation as well as developed regularisation of standard operating procedure.”

Harare and surrounding areas have seen the sprouting of illegal settlements following shady deals by ruling Zanu PF party land barons, who stand accused of grabbing open spaces, including wetlands, and selling them to desperate homeseekers.

Council has been threatening to demolish illegal structures dotted across Harare some of which are built on wetlands in Budiriro 5B Extension and Kuwadzana paddocks areas.

Meanwhile, police are appealing to the public to report land barons.

In a statement on Tuesday, national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said Operation No To Land Barons and Illegal Settlements on Land, which started last month, had so far netted 3 775 suspects, with 985 convictions having been made by the courts, while 3 360 cases were pending trial.

He said arrests were made in Masvingo, where 28 suspects were accounted for in Tokwane-Ngundu Resettlement.

“The suspects had illegally settled on grazing land without the authority of the Ministry of Lands, Agricultural, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement,” Nyathi said.

“In Mashonaland West province, police in Karoi arrested 26 suspects who were occupying grazing land and distributing gazetted land to their relatives at Lazy Five Farm. Investigations carried out unearthed that the suspects were paying US$15 or maize equivalent to the plot holders.”

He said in Matabeleland South, 123 suspects were arrested in Enyandeni Ressettlement Area in Gwanda, while in Matabeleland North, Thulani Nzima (53) was arrested for illegal allocation of six residential stands to desperate homeseekers for payment in Siganda, Mbembeswana 1 Village, Nyamandlovu.

Nyathi said investigations showed that the beneficiaries paid US$300 and ZAR4 000 to the suspect.

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