Social security moves to housing

Given access to land with water, sewers and roads, tens of thousands of Zimbabweans are quite prepared to build their own houses. Social problems have arisen because too many, faced with the crippling shortage of serviced land, have tried to build on unserviced land, creating health hazards and planning nightmares. Servicing is expensive and the private sector cannot cope. In any case the private sector tends to look at the higher end of the market. Now Zimbabwe’s State social security authority, the National Social Security Authority has launched a $221 billion housing project at Glaudina Farm along the Harare-Bulawayo Road. The authority intends to service 2 000 residential stands that will be sold to those on the waiting lists. Land development including road construction and digging of water and sewer lines has already begun and would be completed in July after which 394 medium-density housing stands for phase one would be sold to beneficiaries. NSSA assistant general manager responsible for finance and investment Mr James Matiza said the development would be carried out in phases. The first phase has eight commercial and 73 high-density stands. He said 19 families who been living on the farm over the years had been offered high-density stands for purchase. Glaudina is one of several peri-urban farms acquired by Government for housing devel-opment. “(Funds raised from) the sale of stands in the first phase would be used to finance the develop-ment of the second phase. Under the first phase we will not follow the city’s housing waiting list. We will advertise for the sale of the stands,” he said. FBC Building Society, in which NSSA has a 40 percent stake, will provide the mortgage finance. He said some stands would be sold to Homelink for the benefit of Zimbabweans in the Diaspora. Phase Two has 1 500 high-density stands measur-ing between 200 and 300 square metres. These stands would be sold to NSSA members on the Harare City Council housing waiting list. “People will build their own houses. We will only service the land,” he said. Servicing has been the bottleneck in delivery of housing. The Deputy Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Mr Abednico Ncube, said Government was happy with NSSA’s housing proj-ect and urged the authority to implement similar housing projects across the country. The Glaudina project is the second housing proj-ect by NSSA. The first was in Marondera where 400 stands were serviced. He said NSSA had acquired land for housing in all the country’s 10 administrative provinces. “In addition to housing NSSA is also involved in commercial projects such as shopping malls, office accommodation and private hospitals,” he said. NSSA will service 6 400 stands in Mutare and another 600 in Masvingo. Land had also been acquired in other towns and cities. The Deputy Minister of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development, Cde Morris Sakabuya, lauded NSSA’s involvement in housing development, saying Government has always called for private sector participation in this sector. ‘ The Herald He said Government was ready to release more land to companies wishing to provide housing for employees. “Companies should realise that if their workers are well housed they would be more productive. We expect more companies to come in and take up the available land,” he said. NSSA board chairman Mr Edwin Manikai said the authority had beefed up its investments under the housing portfolio from 15 percent to 20 percent this year to complement Government efforts in housing delivery.

March 2006
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