Demolitions: Government clears the air

Government is opposed to the demolition of people’s homes and will continue regularising informal settlements, with over 1,5 million homeowners set to receive title deeds under the Kwangu/Ngakwami Presidential Title Deeds Programme.

The exercise is being rolled out in all the country’s 10 provinces.

Over the past few weeks, there have been growing fears that the authorities were planning to demolish houses and settlements, particularly in peri-urban settlements.

However, the Government is fine-tuning the programme, which will empower beneficiaries by facilitating access to credit finance, essential services and increased investment in infrastructure.

Officially launched by President Mnangagwa in Epworth, Harare, last year, the programme is spreading to other provinces.

Beneficiaries of the scheme will include residents of previously informal or unregulated settlements, those living in Government and municipal houses, as well as urban and rural dwellers who did not have title for various reasons.

Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities Permanent Secretary Engineer Theodius Chinyanga told The Sunday Mail that “the major goal of the programme is to empower the masses by providing legal recognition and ownership rights to individuals living in informal settlements, ultimately promoting social equity and enhancing the overall well-being of these communities”.

“As of the latest update, over 1,5 million title deeds will be issued to informal settlers through the programme,” he said.

“This is supposed to have a transformative effect on the lives of the beneficiaries, giving them legal recognition and ownership rights.

“The ministry is now seized with work towards issuance of title for houses within various Government schemes, with the processing of documents currently underway.”

Eng Chinyanga said the Government has already started notifying would-be beneficiaries to verify if they qualify for the scheme.

“The major issue is with the verification of information on our files to confirm the status of beneficiaries. The beneficiaries have since been informed to bring key documents to facilitate the process of title transfer.”

The decentralisation programme, he added, is moving with speed, as the Government will set up offices in all provinces to facilitate the process.

“The decentralisation of the programme is on course and the ministry offices across the country are now ready to initiate the processes.”

In an interview with The Sunday Mail, Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Permanent Secretary Mrs Vimbai Nyemba said the programme will this year be launched in phases countrywide.

“Epworth was just the pilot project. The next phase involves the launch of the Digital Land Administration Platform, which will be done by His Excellency, the President,” she said.

“The following phase is to receive and process title deed applications from preselected priority areas and provinces. The Cabinet committee is currently working on that priority list.”

She said the Government will also “develop bulk infrastructure in areas where it is missing”.

“It is very important for interested local authorities and provinces to express such interest to the taskforce through the Permanent Secretary of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs,” she said.

In a recent public notice, the Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities urged beneficiaries to confirm by March 29 if they qualify to get the title deeds.

“The Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities is facilitating the processing of the title deeds, and it has come to our attention that some beneficiary files do not hold key documents, which are a prerequisite for the processing of the files before the issuance of title deeds,” read the notice.

“In light of this, we hereby notify all would-be beneficiaries of the Government housing schemes across all provinces listed below to bring the following documents to the Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities provincial offices, also indicated below, on or before March 29, 2024.”

Masvingo Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Mr Ezra Chadzamira urged residents in the province not to worry about demolitions, but to look forward to benefit from the regularisation.

“The New Dispensation does not demolish people’s properties wantonly,” he said.

“This is why the Government is regularising areas held by land barons whom we are advising to leave those places. We encourage people to apply for title deeds.”

Mashonaland West Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Marian Chombo said: “The province is in full support of the programme and vision launched by His Excellency President Mnangagwa of giving title deeds to the deserving and those legally occupying the land. This programme promotes investment, as well as guaranteeing the property rights enshrined in the supreme law of the country.

“The Government has set clear guidelines and regulations that should be followed when one wants to acquire and settle on any land in the country. The guidelines are understandable and non-discriminatory. By strictly following these, we can prevent corruption, favouritism and unethical practices. This will promote trust and confidence in the system.”

In Masvingo, the areas expected to benefit from the title deeds programme include Manhede, Hillside, Runyararo West, Rhodene and Eastvale, as well as Tshovane in Chiredzi.

In Bulawayo, the areas include Khumalo Flats, Inimyela Flats and Parklands Mews.

In Manicaland, recipients will be drawn from Vengere and Tsanzaguru in Makoni, Hauna in Mutasa, Gaza in Chipinge, Ngangu in Chimanimani and Murambinda in Buhera, as well as Mess Camp in Sakubva, Nyausunzi Cluster, Old Location Cluster, Elias Gladhill, Esrow and Nyamauru, among other areas in Mutare.

Most of the beneficiaries in Mashonaland East will be from the Elmswood area in Marondera.

Some of the areas set to benefit from Mashonaland West are Kaguvi 2, Umvovo, Mubaira and Garikai in Chegutu.

In Makonde district, people living in Mzari Extension Flats, Gunhill Project, Goldstream, Mzari, Garikai and Batonga 1-3 in Kariba will be considered.

Matabeleland North has Tsholotsho, Victoria Falls and Ntabazinduna; while in Matabelaland South, the areas include Hlanikuhle and Redef (Beitbridge); Hlanikuhle (Bulilima), Sptzkop, Sendzo, Phakama and Hlalani Kuhle.

Mashonaland Central includes residents in Bindura, Concession, Centenary, Mazowe, Guruve, Mt Darwin and Rushinga.

Last year, President Mnangagwa personally handed over hundreds of title deeds to Epworth residents, with a total target of 38 000 documents targeted for the area.

Sunday Mail

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