President Mnangagwa last Wednesday commissioned houses built by Government in Beitbridge town under the Beitbridge Redevelopment Programme (BRP). The completion of the houses is yet another confirmation of Government’s commitment to clearing the 1,2 million housing waiting list backlog.
Government has set itself a target to build 225 000 houses by 2025 and is already delivering on the promise. A total of 52 houses have been completed under the BRP and 28 were commissioned by President Mnangagwa and are now ready for occupation.
Civil servants have already been allocated the other 24 houses. The completed houses are part of the massive housing development project underway in Beitbridge following the release of $597 million by Treasury.
The project which is set to improve the face of the border town, also involves the construction of garden flats to accommodate 64 families and another border staff village with 264 houses.
Last September President Mnangagwa commissioned the Marimba flats project in Harare which is again meant to provide accommodation to mostly civil servants.
Zimbabwe’s ballooning housing waiting list has been largely blamed on the unavailability of mortgage finance. The little mortgage finance available is beyond the reach of most home seekers. The challenge therefore is to make available affordable mortgage finance to enable people to either build or buy houses.
Government on its part is spearheading the development of modern and affordable urban and rural houses as evidenced by the many housing projects being implemented in the different parts of the country.
The clearing of the housing waiting list backlog is running concurrently with the upgrading of housing units in old suburbs such as Makokoba in Bulawayo, Mtapa in Gweru, Mbare in Harare and Sakubva in Mutare.
The housing structures in these suburbs will be replaced by modern houses that are in tandem with the country’s vision to be an upper-middle class economy by 2030.
Work to replace the colonial structures is infact already underway in Sakubva suburb under the Sakubva Urban Renewal Project.
It is a fact that Government alone cannot mobilise adequate resources to clear the housing waiting list backlog hence the need for the private sector to complement Government efforts to provide decent accommodation to citizens.
We have already alluded to the shortage of mortgage finance as the major stumbling block and we are therefore calling on banks and other financial institutions to avail cheap mortgage finance to enable home seekers to either build or buy houses.
Government is building houses mostly for its workers and those in the private sector should be able to access mortgage finance to build houses. Most cities and towns have, during the past few years, witnessed ballooning housing waiting lists as very little housing development was taking place due to unavailability of affordable mortgage finance.
Shelter is one of the basic human rights and therefore it is the wish of each and every family to have their own house.
Government is walking the talk on housing delivery and it is time the private sector complements these efforts by investing in housing development.
In the past companies used to either construct houses for their workers or assist them to build their own houses. This guaranteed workers and their families decent accommodation and there is therefore no reason why today’s companies cannot do the same.