By Dorrothy Moyo | At a time when the public is abuzz with revelations of an affair with Emmerson Mnangagwa, Virginia Mabhiza, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, has taken center stage by announcing a groundbreaking housing project in Zimbabwe.
The unveiling of this innovative initiative comes through a state media report that reveals 1000 homeowners in Harare have received title deeds under the Presidential Title Deeds and Settlement Regularization Programme. This program was initiated in April of this year and has now been expanded to encompass more than 1.5 million homeowners across the nation.
Notably, a regional office has been recently inaugurated in Bulawayo province, with plans for additional regional offices to be progressively established.
Mrs. Virginia Mabhiza, who leads the high-level inter-ministerial committee overseeing the regularization of settlements, conveyed the government’s commitment to extending the program’s reach. She stated, “Government is rolling out the Presidential Title Deeds (and Settlement Regularization) Programme in other provinces following its successful launch in Epworth.” She further noted the establishment of a command center, designed as a one-stop shop for processing title deeds, which has already processed around 1,000 title deeds, with 90 percent of recipients already in possession of their documents.
The ambitious initiative aims to grant title deeds to approximately 1.5 million properties, including growth points. Additionally, the Zimbabwe National Geospatial and Space Agency has completed mapping most of the settlements marked for regularization.
Mrs. Mabhiza emphasized, “The program will cover other suburbs in Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare, Marondera, Bindura, Chinhoyi, Kwekwe, Kadoma, and Masvingo, including growth points.” She highlighted the approval of layout plans and surveys for targeted settlements and the expedited development of water, sewer, and road infrastructure. She concluded by describing the program as a national effort with the potential to unlock significant value for citizens.
Suburbs included in the first phase of mapping encompass Epworth, Eyecourt, Retreat, Caledonia, Hopley in Harare, Gimboki Farm (Mutare), Cowdray Park (Bulawayo), and Victoria Range (Masvingo).
In a separate interview, Housing and Social Amenities Minister Daniel Garwe discussed the progress in regularizing informal settlements, stating, “You are aware that we have got so many informal settlements in towns and cities. They have been paying rentals for almost 40 to 50 years. Essentially, they have bought the houses. So, the title deeds project is starting with those ones. Parallel to that, we are now looking at informal settlements like Caledonia, Epworth, so that, as we provide roads, water, and sewer, we are also providing requisite paperwork, which are title deeds, so that people have security of tenure and economic inclusion.”
As Zimbabwe grapples with both controversy and progress, Virginia Mabhiza’s announcement signals a significant step forward in the nation’s efforts to provide housing security and economic inclusion for its citizens.- state media/additional reporting