A massive multi-million dollar housing development project has been launched in Kariba with funding coming from the Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ).
The housing development project comprises low, medium and high density stands.
About 109 of the stands will be in the up market Baobab extension suburb, while the remainder will be shared between Batonga and Kasese suburbs.
Under the project, close to 400 families will be relocated from the overcrowded and shanty Mahombekombe area where their homes are located within the confines of a 330 kilovolt power transmission line which exposes them to the dangers associated with high voltage.
The cost for the projects is estimated at $14,8 million, with IDBZ being the project funding partner in the provision of onsite and offsite infrastructure, while Kariba Municipality provides the land.
Finance and Economic Development Minister, Cde Patrick Chinamasa, who officiated a ground breaking ceremony for the project, warned of zero tolerance to land barons, and blamed local authorities for failing to come up with innovative ideas such as proper project feasibility studies that attract infrastructure development capital.
He further stressed that it is wrong to award tenders to contractors who have no capital equipment for infrastructure development, save for their briefcases.
Minister Chinamasa also warned that the government will not approve housing projects without onsite and offsite infrastructure.
“The government has set aside $5 million for councils to manage infrastructure but they must change the structure of their budgets. The mandate of municipalities is to deliver. Project development funds are available and we need to expose councils that do not offer services yet they use rates to pay workers,” he said.
He also indicated that the IDBZ will provide a similar model of funding in Gwanda, Beitbridge, Chipinge and Zvishavane, while housing units will be constructed for renting purposes by students at the National University of Science and Technology in Bulawayo, Lupane State University and Bindura University of Science Education.
IDBZ CEO, Mr Thomas Sakala pledged the institution’s support in addressing the housing backlog in the country.
“Focus is to provide properly serviced sites with roads, water and electricity. Costing depends on cost of doing the job in a sustainable manner. We got support from treasury to raise $100 million through bonds,’’ Mr Sakala said.
Mashonaland West Minister of State, Cde Webster Shamu said almost every urban council in the province has unmet demand for housing, which he described as a right enshrined in the un charter.
“People should have habitable shelter in line with the UN Charter. Several towns have backlogs. Land barons have been duping home seekers for quite some time and we don’t want that to continue,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, the government is to undertake an ambitious command housing development programme involving half a million units by 2023, according to the Director of Housing and Social Amenities in the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, Mr Lexton Kuwanda.