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Housing Delivery and the National Development Strategy (NDS1)

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Women and Law in Southern Africa (WLSA) > Blog  > Housing Delivery and the National Development Strategy (NDS1)

Housing Delivery and the National Development Strategy (NDS1)

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The National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) was launched by the President of Zimbabwe; an economic master plan focusing on inclusive development from 2021 to 2025. The NDS1 endeavours to streamline gender, youth, women and other vulnerable groups, thus creating equal opportunities for all in an economically stable environment[1]. One of the major outcomes and deliverables of the NDS 1 is anchored on housing[2] .The NDS1 has laid strategies to improve Land Delivery for Urban and Rural Housing. The housing land acquisition procedure will be reviewed with a view to expedite delivery of land for housing.

The Harare housing situation has always been anchored on the need for continuous state intervention through public housing provision in solving the emerging housing crisis. Most of the urban settlements in Harare grow without any official planning. Urban informality and illegal housing is therefore a natural response to this crisis. In the face of this unguided urban growth, illegal settlements and irregular housing structures are a common feature. These negativities constitute a growing and enduring urban crisis.

Local authorities and the government of Zimbabwe have recently rolled out demolitions across Harare and in surrounding areas of what they deem illegal structures. At the centre of this crisis are land barons and illegal cooperatives whose illicit deals has led to arbitrary allocation of land to thousands of  unsuspecting people who are left to bear the brunt of the illegality.

These demolitions which were carried out  with no clear plan for provision of  alternative decent housing in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and  at a grossly unreasonable time , leaving thousands of people destitute and with no where to live .The Minister of Local Government , Minister July Moyo confirmed this when he said in a press statement, ” While the demolitions have caused a near humanitarian crisis, the rule of law should always be upheld as most of such illegal settlements are breeding grounds for epidemics and other social vices.’’

While these illegal structures or settlements may be viewed by Local Government as  an anomaly, a source of disorder, environmental nuisance and an obstacle to the development of a modern upper middle-class society, they were however home and a source of shelter to thousands who have failed to acquire sustainable housing through proper Housing schemes . There is need to rethink the impact of these demolitions on the poor especially during the COVID-19 pandemic and also  to target illegal land barons and cooperatives who continue to thrive from illegal housing schemes while defrauding thousands of people who are left homeless in the face of demolitions . The NDS 1 should focus on why these demolitions keep recurring which is obviously resultant from a housing crisis and lack of adequate shelter for a growing population.

[1]               The National Development Strategy 2021-2025

[2]               The National Development Strategy 2021-2025

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