Chitungwiza expands boundaries

HARARE - Rapid urbanisation has forced the sprawling town of Chitungwiza to tuck in communal lands in order to address the sharply rising demand for houses.

This week the cash-strapped council resolved that houses which were built illegally would now be amalgamated into the town so as to ensure that the broke council benefits from revenue collection.

The ministry of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development recently commissioned a taskforce that looked into illegal land allocations and developments in rural areas bordering Chitungwiza especially Manyame rural district council.

“The committee recommended that the boundaries be adjusted to incorporate developments around Unit O including the illegal development of United We Stand Housing Cooperative,” read part of the letter from the Local Government ministry.

United We Stand Housing Cooperative is owned by businessman Fredrick Mabamba who has been trying without success to have his stands regularised by Chitungwiza’s town fathers.

The Local Government ministry said Chitungwiza municipality has currently over 400 stands that it created outside municipal boundaries and would benefit if they are merged with the bustling town.

“The beneficiaries however, cannot get title deeds because the stands fall in communal areas. Boundary changes would therefore result in the incorporation of the stands and hence making the land urban,” noted the ministry.

While it has remained largely difficult for companies to register houses, peri-urban rural councils this week recommended that all illegal stands be regularised by the town of Chitungwiza.

“Chitungwiza municipality should formally submit the layout plan used to implement Seke Unit ‘O’ extension scheme for approval by the director of Physical Planning.”

The ministry recommended that Chitungwiza should pay a levy for the stands that encroached into Manyame rural district council.

The town of Chitungwiza, which was reluctant to expand its boundaries because of its inability to supply essential services such as water to its a million-plus residents, reluctantly adopted to incorporate illegal structures.

“The Chitungwiza municipality boundary should be adjusted to incorporate development around the unit ‘O’ area including the illegal developments of United We Stand Housing Co-op belonging to Mabamba.

“Urbanisation of the area should be done urgently to curb further illegal subdivision of the land...and Chitungwiza municipality should charge the residents of the areas to be incorporated into municipal area service fees for provision of sewerage and water reticulation services to their stands,” read part of the council’s recommendations.

Villages such as Chitsvatsva, Murisa, Kuora, Marimbi and Rusirevi which do not have village heads will soon be added into Chitungwiza as an answer to rapid urbanisation not only in Chitungwiza but also Harare.

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