HARARE – The Urban Development Corporation (UDCORP) plans to complete development of its housing schemes in Norton (Knockmalloch), about forty kilometers from West of the capital and Manresa (Harare East) by the third quarter of 2019 having spent a cumulative $8.8 million on both projects so far.
The Norton project alone has 4 800 stands.`
UDCORP head management committee Hashmon Matemera said plans were also in place to develop stands in other parts of the country starting next year.
“We will complete them (stands in Norton and Manresa) in 2019 by third quarter 2019. I think on Manresa we have spent $4.5 million and on Norton $4.3 million,” he said.
“We are signing agreements and land purchases with various local authorities in Plumtree, Chirundu, Masvingo, Bulawayo, Gweru so that we start developing next year.”
Matemera said UDCORP was also angling to return to its core business of urban planning, having focused in recent years on regularizing already existing settlements.
“We are re-focusing the corporation back to its core business. We had actually over time, lost the ability to engage into urban planning where we anticipate urban trends and plan for them.
“What had happened is that because of poor capitalization and the difficult economic environment urban councils were no longer paying for master plans and that business went into the back seat and we now focused more on regularization which is an assignment from government where we are appointed as a project manager and a planner to regularize existing settlements,” he said.
“We are now saying if we spent 50 percent of our time on regularization let us now change so that we spend 80 percent of our time on core business and 20 percent on the other business even in terms of resource deployment as well.”
In January this year, the Real Estate Institute of Zimbabwe said the country needed an estimated 15 to 20 years to clear its national housing backlog, currently estimated at 1.3 million, with Harare alone requiring about 500 000 units.
According to the Transitional Stabilization Program (TSP) which the government launched last month, construction of low cost housing and servicing of stands would be prioritized through the Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe, UDCORP and the National Social Security Authority.
The demand for houses is high in most urban areas, particularly Harare, whose population has swelled as it is the main destination for the rural-urban migration.
The situation has given rise to the sprouting of many illegal settlements which resulted from the illegal sale of council and state land by land barons to desperate home seekers. – New Ziana