The Harare City Council (HCC) has revealed plans to demolish 58 blocks of flats in Mbare, the oldest high density suburb in the capital and construct decent family units in the suburb.
The flats, which were once meant to accommodate a small number of black migrant workers during the colonial era, include Matapi, Shawasha, Magaba,Mbare, Matererina and Nenyere flats.
The structures, built for bachelors, have now become an eyesore and are home to over 70 000 people.HCC’s acting town clerk, Josephine Ncube, confirmed the development while addressing delegates at the handover ceremony of New Marimba Park housing stands, which were serviced by the Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ). She said that the city council would also undertake urban regeneration in other older suburbs.
Ncube said: “The 58 hostels in Mbare urgently require redevelopment into decent family units. With a population of over 70 000 there is need to upgrade the flats in line with modern trends.
“The renewal project is a good investment opportunity and is in line with the City of Harare’s efforts to ensure that residents have access to proper housing and infrastructure. Council is currently looking for partners to fund this project.”
She added: “Council implores government through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and other ministries to support housing development by stimulating the availability of affordable capital funding.
“Harare is in dire need of funding for the upgrading of infrastructure such as water, roads and public transport and waste management. More land is also required to expand Harare as it continues to grow because of the rapid rural to urban migration and urban to urban migration.”
The total project cost could, however, not be immediately established. This project is part of HCC’s efforts to avail decent accommodation to residents, especially low-income earners.
Harare has a critical housing backlog of at least 500 000 units, meaning that the demand currently far outstrips supply.The HCC provided over 200 stands to the IDBZ’s Marimba project and the units, handed over to the beneficiaries a fortnight ago, will go a long way in
contributing towards housing for Harare residents.
Under government’s economic blue print, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation launched in 2013 and running up to 2018, the HCC is expected to provide 105 000 housing units.
Ncube called for co-operation with the private players to ease the housing problem.
She said: “The provision of decent and affordable housing is a key priority for council. The demand for housing as demonstrated by official waiting list in excess of 500 000 creates a market for housing projects and a huge impact along the value chain. There is therefore greater scope for co-operation with private players like the IDBZ.
“We have flat sites which have not been taken up and this has good return on investment because developing vertically enables maximum utilisation of small pieces of land to accommodate more families.
More focus should now be put on densification to save on land and infrastructure costs