Zimbabweans in Old Suburbs to Receive Title Deeds from Government

A programme to provide security of tenure and empowerment to millions of Zimbabweans

by Motoni Olodun

The government of Zimbabwe has announced a program to issue title deeds to residents of the oldest suburbs in the country, who have been paying rent to councils for decades. The program is part of the Presidential Title Deeds and Settlement Regularisation Programme, launched by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in April 2023 in Epworth, where he handed over 265 title deeds to beneficiaries.

The program aims to provide security of tenure and empowerment to the residents, who have long paid off their homes and are entitled to own them. The program also seeks to regularise informal settlements and improve the general populace’s living standards by providing proper housing and related infrastructure.

The program will cover areas throughout the country, such as Mbare, Mufakose, Highfield, Makokoba, and Sakubva, where residents have been leasing houses from local authorities for over 40-50 years. The lease agreements will be canceled and replaced by title deeds, unlocking value for the recipients through financial inclusion.

The program will also involve the design of a master plan for mapping and servicing land in areas such as Epworth, Gimboki, and Caledonia, where informal settlements are prevalent. The government will collaborate with the Urban Development Corporation (UDCORP), a state-owned enterprise under the Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities, as well as banks, engineering and construction companies, and other stakeholders in a public-private partnership to implement the program.

The government has invited willing partners to join hands in ensuring the program’s success, which is expected to create business opportunities for the construction industry, local authorities, and the government regarding tax collections. The government has also pledged to deal with land barons who have exploited desperate home seekers and ensure that all Zimbabweans have dignified lives.

The program aligns with the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1), the country’s economic blueprint for 2021-2025. The NDS1 aims to achieve inclusive and sustainable economic growth and development through various strategic priorities, including housing delivery and social amenities.

According to the 2022 Population and Housing Census Preliminary Results released by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT) in July 2023, Zimbabwe’s population has increased by 16.2 percent from 13 million in 2012 to 15.1 million in 2022. The population constituted 3.8 million households, averaging four persons per household. The share of the urban population has increased from 33 percent in 2012 to 39 percent in 2022.

The program is expected to benefit millions of Zimbabweans who have been living in rented houses or informal settlements for years without proper documentation or services. It will also contribute to the development and modernization of urban areas and enhance the citizens’ quality of life.

Source: The Herald

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