Govt allocates title deeds to oldest suburbs

Minister Garwe

PEOPLE still paying rent to councils in the oldest suburbs across the country will be getting title deeds under the Presidential Title Deeds and Settlement Regularisation Programme while work on regularising informal settlements and issuing home owners with title deeds continues.

In the oldest high density suburbs, there are some people who have gone for up to five decades paying rent to their city or town council and Government reckons they have long paid off their homes and are entitled to title deeds.

Addressing a press conference in Harare yesterday, National Housing and Social Amenities Minister Daniel Garwe said the title deeds programme is in two phases, with the first looking at well planned areas but with no title deeds.

“The first phase is looking at areas which are properly planned where services have been provided but local authorities have been leasing houses to individuals and this has been going on for a period in excess of 40-50 years. 

“His Excellency, President Mnangagwa said those people for all technical purposes have purchased the houses. So we now need to start working on the processing of title deeds for them.”

Minister Garwe said those still paying rent in old suburbs in Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare, Masvingo, Gweru, among other towns and cities will be issued with title deeds.

“I am talking of areas like Mbare, Mufakose, Highfield, Makokoba, and Sakubva throughout the country that are going to be issued with title deeds.

“This means the lease agreement they have with councils will be cancelled and we come now with title deeds”.

Minister Garwe said the second phase of the programme to issue title deeds is the one focusing on regularising informal settlements.

“The second phase is informal settlements like Epworth, Gimboki in Manicaland, and Caledonia in Mashonaland East. 

“They need to be regularised and people issued with title deeds. That’s the programme we are embarking on with our banking community and land developers.”

Minister Garwe invited willing partners to help the Government in the programme. 

“Everybody is welcome . . . those that want to join hands with us to ensure that we regularise all these informal settlements, we are inviting you.”

The Minister said a lot of business opportunities are being availed by the programme.

“There is also an opportunity for the business community in this programme. 

“Just imagine the number of roads that are going to be constructed, the level of sewer and reticulation that is going to be constructed. This is a lot of work for the construction industry.

“Also there are a lot of opportunities we will create for the local authorities. Obviously when people are properly settled, roads and services are provided. Local authorities will then now want to come and request for payment of rates from the residents which is a business opportunity for local authorities as well and a business opportunity for Government in terms of tax collections. So it’s not only regularisation but also the creation of an environment that creates business for everybody,” said Minister Garwe.

At the same media conference, Urban Development Corporation (UDCORP) chief executive Joey Shumbamhini said they are working to address UDCORP legacy issues so that they participate in delivering housing to the people.

“We are also participating in resolving UDCORP legacy issues where UDCORP was previously involved like Caledonia, Gimboki to mention but a few.

“We also want to look at ourselves internally, where we are going to be creating effective and efficient internal policies, systems processes and procedures. 

“We are also going to be reviewing the UDCORP business model to implement a new model that will enable UDCORP to effectively contribute to the country’s 1,5 million housing target,” said Mr Shumbamhini.

In April, President Mnangagwa personally handed over 265 title deeds to Epworth residents as part of 11 200 title deeds that had been prepared for homeowners in the area under the Presidential Title Deeds and Settlement Regularisation Programme.

President Mnangagwa made it Government policy to sort out title deeds for large irregular settlements, after many residents fell victim to land barons.

Herald

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