Govt prioritises high-rise buildings

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Loyd Matare 


HOUSING minister Daniel Garwe has proposed an ambitious plan that will see 40 percent of the country’s human settlement land being reserved for high-rise buildings and flats to save space. 

Due to an increasing population, there has been a huge demand for land for both residential and commercial purposes.

Presenting a ministerial statement on the government’s human settlement policy in the National Assembly on Tuesday, Garwe said the Regional, Town and Country Planning Act must be amended to suit the threshold of structuring high-rise buildings and flats from 10 percent to 40 percent to include workspaces for micro and small to medium enterprises (SMEs).

“Mixed use vertical space utilisation will be promoted. Sub-division of low-density stands will be permissible and encouraged, where there is a possibility to reticulate sewer,” Garwe said.

He also said that all informal settlements would be regularised and sanitised through the use of a standardised protocol and development of a compensation and relocation framework where alternative land use warranting displacements will be contemplated.

“Madam Speaker, we are all aware of the ugly sights that we are experiencing in all our urban centres.

“Every town and city in the country is surrounded by unplanned or informal settlements that are being serviced with pit latrines and open wells, something that does not speak to vision 2030.

“We are all aware of what is happening in our country, the development that is in urban areas is not taking place in rural areas. There is a massive migration of people from rural to urban areas in pursuit of the infrastructure that is in the urban areas.

“We want to influence a migration of Zimbabweans from urban to rural areas by providing the facilities that are in urban areas in the rural settlement areas,” Garwe said.

The Zanu PF legislator for Murewa North added that the development and management of settlements would be consistent with national and international disaster risk frameworks and with environmental and climate laws which makes it a crime for people to settle on wetlands.

The minister’s sentiments come as the government is currently waged in a war to combat land barons who were illegally parcelling out State and council land to desperate home-seekers.

In some cases, these syndicates, in connivance with government and rogue council officials, have sold land located on wetlands or spaces reserved for schools, clinics, railway and powerlines.

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