HARARE – A housing project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation(B&MGF) stopped by Chipangano, a Harare-based terror group, is back on track after mayor Muchadeyi Masunda vowed to tackle the group.
The project was meant to help poor families living in dilapidated structures in Mbare but was put on hold after Chipangano thugs violently disrupted construction.
Chipangano, which is believed to have links with Zanu PF, was demanding a share of the $5 million being pumped into the project.
“We are tying up loose ends with the B&MGF of a $20 million housing loan facility for members of the Zimbabwe Homeless People’s Federation (ZHPF) and Dialogue on Shelter (DoS) to build low-cost houses for themselves throughout greater Harare,” said Masunda.
“We will go back to Mbare, in spite of Chipangano’s retrogressive machinations, to carry out an enumeration exercise at the 58 blocks of flats with a view to establishing precisely as to ‘who is who’ there and how many people need assistance with accommodation,” he said.
The city council, through the project, will audit the hostels to establish the lease-holders of the close to 5 500 apartments.
An estimated 56 000 people reside in the dilapidated structures that are ranked as part of Harare’s 37 slum settlements.
The apartments, originally built for migrant bachelor workers around 1940, now houses big families.
Despite Chipangano’s opposition to the project, Local Government, Rural and Urban Development minister Ignatius Chombo supports the rehabilitation programme.
He has been quoted in the media as saying the hostels needed attention or should be demolished altogether.
Council, through the public private partnership (PPC) concept, is targeting thorough decamping of the hostels and housing excess people in new apartments to be constructed under the B&MGF project.
The rundown Tagarika Flats in the same suburb are an example of structures which will be affected.
“We have established a tremendous rapport with the private sector in terms of translating the much-vaunted PPP in concrete results on the ground.
“For example Old Mutual/CABS $15 million housing facility in Budiriro and $40 million which Old Mutual has put on the table as seed money towards the establishment of the National Housing Fund,” said Masunda.
Masunda said the B&MGF funded project, which targets 486 housing units in Dzivaresekwa, is on track. – Wendy Muperi