Recently, the chairman of the Enhanced Cabinet Committee on Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Management, Vice President Chiwenga briefed the cabinet on a move that the government is taking to identify all irregular and dysfunctional settlements in local authorities.
The exercise includes verification of flood-prone areas, irregular settlements on land suitable for urban development and a mapping exercise for ecologically sensitive areas that require sustainable environmental management.
The masterplan is a plausible move.
The government must be hands down to ensure a fast-tracked process to develop an all-encompassing administrative tool for local authorities and the national strategy on preserving wetlands and other sensitive areas.
The masterplan comes against a background where illegal settlements have been rife owing to political motivations, the proliferation of land barons, sleeping on duty local authorities and corruption.
As such, citizens were left sitting on double-edged swords of being robbed of their hard-earned cash, council bulldozing through their property while devastating floods left destruction trails across the country.
According to the cabinet briefing, this masterplan will effectively identify households that require relocation from dangerous settlements.
The verification process will also to identify households settled in areas that are suitable for urban development.
Urban development in the country is slow and caged. People in large cities scrambling for the little infrastructure that has been there since the 80s.
Devolution funds will be channeled towards the household construction programme to cater for relocation.
Proper systems must be put in place by the relevant ministries to ensure utilization of funds as intended. The intentions to channel funds to personal gains is still rife in central government and local governments. Corruption has been the major drawback to development in Zimbabwe.
To this effect, other provinces such as Midlands and Mashonaland Central have halted the allocation of residential stands.
Hopefully, this will be the genesis to solving the country’s residential chaos that has been hurting citizens since time immemorial.
However, in due course, the government must find ways to set up a centralized land allocation system that shuts down land barons, corruption and illegal settlements.