The State President, His Excellency Dr Emmerson D. Mnangagwa yesterday officially launched the Zimbabwe National Human Settlements Policy (ZNHSP) at a ceremony in Marimba, Harare. During the same occasion, the President also commissioned two blocks of flats constructed by the Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities (NHSA) for junior medical doctors from Parirenyatwa and Sally Mugabe Hospital (formerly, Harare Central Hospital).
According to the Ministry of NHSA, the ZNHSP is a culmination of wide consultations of “various and varied groups of people in the country’s 10 provinces which began in May 2018”.
“Having noted deficiencies in the National Housing Policy of 2012, Government embarked on the above stated consultations soliciting opinions with a view to address the short-comings inherent in the 2012 policy,” reads part of the Foreword of the ZNHSP document.
Minister of NHSA Hon. Daniel Garwe said that his ministry had a target to deliver 220 000 housing units by 2025 as prescribed under the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) aimed at contributing towards realizing Vision 2030.
In his keynote address, President Mnangagwa said that Zimbabweans had fought a protracted war of liberation in order to regain their nationhood and correct the wrongs of the colonial regime and improve “the quality of life of our people” including enhancing access to decent and affordable housing.
“In highlighting this commitment, my government set up a dedicated Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities to spearhead the development of modern and affordable urban and rural settlements and social amenities in a coordinated and sustainable manner,” said the President. He added that the Ministry was also tasked with addressing the institutional, regulatory and technical weaknesses across the housing sector in the country.
President Mnangagwa said that this was in line with the tenets of international, continental and regional bodies with respect to the provision of modern, affordable, sustainable and climate-proofed shelter. He added that inclusive self-sustainable cities and human settlements were also being encouraged in accordance with the national aspirations articulated by Vision 2030 as well as the African Union Agenda 2063 and UN Sustainable Development Goals relating to housing and shelter.
President Mnangagwa further stressed that these efforts enhanced the quality of life of the citizens and significantly contributed towards sustainable economic growth. The President said that Zimbabwe had in excess of 1.2 million deficit in housing units.
“My government has taken a decision to address that deficit by accelerating the provision of houses and social amenities to all sections of society including the health sector.
“These housing units are being allocated to medical junior doctors who form part of our frontline workers in the fight against the (COVID-19) pandemic and are a key cog in our quest to achieve universal health coverage. The provision of such institutional accommodation is part of my government commitment to avail non-monetary incentives for the sterling efforts that medical personnel continue to make towards the wellbeing of all citizens country wide,” said the President.
The President added that over and above this project, plans were at an advanced stage for the construction of institutional accommodation for other doctors and health workers in all major hospitals across the country.
“As we journey towards Vision 2030, my government has already embarked on a concept of developing smart cities throughout the country. Relevant Ministries, departments and agencies must speed up the identification of suitable land for these programmes,” he said, adding that the MNHSA had already identified Melfort in Mashonaland East to develop a smart city.
In a bid to bring dignity to disadvantaged sections of society, the President said, urban regeneration of degrading colonially established suburbs such as Mbare, Makokoba, Sakubva and Mutapa among others, was being pursued “with vigor and tenacity”.
“We are going to pull down the colonial structures in Mbare, Makokoba and Sakubva. The second republic will leave no stone unturned towards restoring order, dignity and access to basic services and social amenities to our deserving people,” said the President.
The event was attended by the Vice President General (retd) Constandino D. G. Chiwenga who is also the Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Defense and War Veterans Affairs Minister Hon Oppah Muchinguri Kashiri, other government ministers, senior government officials, civic leaders and captains of industry and commerce. Chairperson of the Directors of Housing and Community Services Forum of the Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe (UCAZ) Mr Godfrey Magijani, who is also Kariba Municipality Housing and Community Services Director and Mr Chrispen Musekiwa represented UCAZ.