The Government says more than 15 urban settlements across the country are undergoing aerial mapping as part of a process that will eventually result in the issuance of title deeds to people living in towns and cities whose houses are yet to be regularised.
The first phase of aerial mapping is expected to be completed by the end of March this year.
Suburbs mapped under the first phase include Eyecourt, Retreat, Caledonia and Hopley in Harare, Cowdray Park in Bulawayo, and suburbs in Karoi (Chiedza Farm), Mutare (Gimboki Farm) and Masvingo (Victoria Range).
People who built houses on undesignated land will be the first to receive title deeds, followed by those in residential areas built on approved land.
The ministries of National Housing and Social Amenities; Local Government and Public Works; and Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development are working together in the project.
Speaking in an interview with The Sunday Mail, National Housing and Social Amenities Minister Daniel Garwe said the Government has already started processing title deeds for some settlements. Garwe said:
We have started processing title deeds for some settlements which were not properly built. In Harare, we are starting with Caledonia, Domboshava and Hatcliffe.
We also have Gimboki in Mutare in Manicaland. We are then going to do it countrywide, including in rural district councils.
The issue of title deeds is not an event, but a process. We are going to cover the whole country.
The President wants to protect beneficiaries from being continuously fleeced by land barons and land developers.
Where there are children whose parents died, the title deeds will be given to the children.
Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development Permanent Secretary Professor Fanuel Tagwira said:
The aerial survey will be done and data is processed to produce an orthomosaic (large, map-quality image), which will be spatially integrated with layout plans from the Department of Spatial Planning from the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works.
General plans from the Surveyor-General’s Office for surveyed areas will then be spatially integrated with aerial photos to identify settlements constructed in conformity with the layout plan/general plan.
Tagwira added that settlements conforming to the plan will subsequently be regularised, subject to confirmation of land ownership.
Those settlements constructed outside the layout plan will be clearly indicated and quantified.
Acting Director of Spatial Planning and Development in the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works Honesty Magaya said regularisation will also entail relocating people in some of the settlements.