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Zimbabwe Parliament debate on Operation Murambatsvina - Page 3
Extracted from Hansard Vol. 32, No. 6
Parliament of Zimbabwe

June 28, 2005

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- Questions asked of Mr Chombo



THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC WORKS AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT (MR. CHOMBO): I wished to make this Ministerial Statement last week, but I was not in the House due other pressing issues.

At Independence, Zimbabwe inherited an urban infrastructure whose design capacity was meant to cater for a small population consistent with the racial imperatives of the day. Independence ushered in democratic policies, which opened up the urban areas to the black majority who flooded towns and cities in search of formal employment.

Practically however, the rate of economic growth could not match with the influx and expectations of the population. Inevitably those that could not get formal employment fell back on the informal sector. This positioned was worsened by the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (ESAP), which liberalised the economy. Whilst the intention was noble, it was regrettable that some misguided elements viewed the programme as an invitation to engage in such legal business practices as rampant profiteering, illegally dealing in and externalising of foreign currency, fraud, corruption, hoarding of essential commodities and tax evasions et cetera . Naturally it becomes incumbent upon government to redress the situation.

Analysis: It may be recalled that over the past few years, our urban centres had been inundated by hordes of unlicensed vendors and illegal traders, a significant proportion of whom were largely involved in activities that have immensely contributed to the skewed socio-economic performance of our economy, which phenomenon is presently being addressed through appropriate fiscal and monetary reforms spearheaded by the national level authorities.

On the other hand, the proliferation of illegal outbuildings, shacks and such other forms of unplanned and unapproved structures used as residential accommodation and business facilities throughout the residential areas, the town centres and virtually any open space and around the built-up areas, had reached alarming levels thereby relegating the socio-economic attractiveness of our towns and cities to such low levels as would not augur well with our rigorous efforts to attract investment and generate economic prosperity across the whole country.

In addition, the congestion that had become too legendary within our CBDs due to the uncontrolled and unchecked influx of informal traders, unlicensed business operators and public commuter transport vehicles had essentially rendered the cities and towns lawless, disorderly and completely devoid of public decency and civility. Genuine, licensed and rate-paying businesses and members of the public had increasingly become exposed to the acts of thievery, physical and verbal abuse from touts, street dwellers and criminals as a result of both vehicular and pedestrian congestion within the town.

Thus, after lengthy deliberations with stakeholders in both the public and private sectors as well as other development partners in the parastatal and civic sectors, a bold decision was reached by Government in conjunction with affected local authorities to take relevant action, starting on Monday 18, 2005, to clean up the urban environments of the socio-economic ills and vices that had reached such unprecedented levels and much to the detriment of the overall economy and the welfare of ordinary citizens.

Thus, local authorities such as Harare City Council in conjunction with the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) took decisive measures to restrict public transport operators including ZUPCO to designated drop-off and pick-up points mainly at the periphery of the CBD thereby effectively restoring remarkable order, less street and pavement littering and more public convenience in the CBDs, particularly Harare.

This was followed by equally stern measures to rid the City of illegal structures and unlicensed trading premises in the form of flea markets and pavement trading shacks some of which had essentially been transformed into havens for thieves and criminals, touts, illegal immigrants, illegal foreign currency dealers, drugs traffickers, street dwellers and such other vice-perpetrating elements that had effectively contributed to the growing moral decadence and reduced aesthetic value thereby adversely affecting the general business and social ambience for which other cities and towns elsewhere are renowned.

In collaboration with respective local authorities, therefore, Government has since moved to ensure that appropriately designated areas for informal business within and around the towns and cities are reserved and built up. These places are being provided with sufficient public conveniences such as clean water, toilets, security and properly constructed and designed market stalls, vendor marts, factory shells and home industries with prospective operators being properly vetted, registered and licensed to rid such places of criminals, thieves and other unscrupulous functionaries.

On the other hand, in tandem with the overall objective of ensuring that any form of business operated within a given local authority requires to be conducted in strict accordance with the by-laws, regulations and orders obtaining within that vicinity and, with due financial and social dividends accruing to the local authority, the clean up exercise was therefore extended to the residential and commercial areas.

Thus, illegal structures that were erected by individuals for commercial or residential purposes in and around the cities and towns and indeed, residential areas, have been removed with the owners instructed to liase with their respective local authorities for properly planned and built structures for any proposed and in line with the planning regulations in force.

Members of the public and indeed, those genuine operators directly affected by the current clampdown have also been requested to co-operate with the local authorities and the law enforcement agencies as we earnestly strive to bring back order and sanity to our streets, pavements, buildings and residential areas with a view to improve on the outlook for our towns and cities as well as the general convenience of public life, investment and inevitable prosperity in the aftermath of this worthwhile exercise.

Of remarkable note is also the fact that the campaign has not only been confined to urban areas alone but indeed, our rural local authorities have since embraced the exercise as witnessed by the regulation of prices amongst some rural-oriented shops that had since jumped onto the bandwagon of illegality by arbitrarily overpricing basic commodities, the clampdown on illegal fuel dealers in such towns as Victoria Falls, Hwange, Nyamapanda, et cetera as well as the voluntary destruction of illegal erected structures by members of the public throughout the local authorities in the country.

It would also be imperative to note that the clean up campaign throughout the country is presently ongoing with progress so far registered being about 80%, and the remainder of work being primarily composed of pulling down unsanctioned residential structures in both the high density and low density suburbs as well as the relocation of the displaced individuals and families.

As highlighted in the foregoing the clean up operation is indeed in progress across the country but the positive results yielded to date are as follows:

(i) Most of the Central Business Districts throughout the country are clean and peaceful following the removal of menacing street kids, touts and kombis, illegal vendors and unroadworthy vehicles. The exercise has resulted in significant decongestion of CBD's in the cities in general.

(ii) Crime has significantly gone down following the destruction of illegal structures, which served as rendezvous for criminal activities.

(iii) Enforcement of traffic laws by the police during the operation has resulted in impounding of road unworthy vehicles.

(iv) Basic commodities, which had disappeared from the shelves of most shops, are slowly re-emerging following the destruction of illegal tuck shops, which served as ready markets for such goods.

(v) The provision of services such as water and electricity suppliers and sewerage systems are set to improve following the destruction of the illegal structures, which diverted the provision of such services away from targeted beneficiaries.

(vi) Incidence of traffic congestion have reduced following the relentless crackdown on all traffic offenders.

(vii) Cases of sexual abuse that emanated from the over crowding conditions of some areas such as Mbare are set to diminish.

(viii) The rapid urbanisation of the country in the past decade has witnessed the migration of young and able-bodied man and women into the town and cities of some whom partook in illicit pre-occupation such as vending, touting, prostitution, begging among others. The launch of this operation has reversed this trend and reunited youths with the elderly who had to fend for themselves in the absence of this productive age groups.

Challenges: In spite of achievements posted to date, some challenges inevitably have emerged form this massive exercise in the manner of -
(i) Some families have been rendered homeless
(ii) Some genuine informal traders have been pushed out of business, as they no longer have legally sanctioned premises to operate from.

As alluded to earlier on, Government is committed to putting in place a programme to mitigate the transient adverse effects of the clean-up exercise. Consistent with that stance, Government has now directed that effort be directed towards the reconstruction of infrastructure across the country and same to be accomplished by August 30, 2005.

The directive compels all stakeholders to fully buy into this national agenda. In pursuance of that goal, Government has defined the institutional arrangements to execute the mission as follows: —

The Ad-hoc Inter Ministerial Reconstruction Committee: At the policy level, there is the Ad-hoc Inter Ministerial Reconstruction Committee which shall comprise the following : —

  • The Minister of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development (Chair);
  • The Minister of Defence;
  • The Minister of Small and Medium Enterprises Development;
  • The Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education;
  • The Minister of Home Affairs;
    The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs;
  • The Minister of Youth Development and Employment Creation;
  • The Minister of State National Security, Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement in the President's Office;
  • The Minister of Science and Technology Development;
  • The Minister of State for Water Resources and Infrastructure Development;
  • The Minister of Environment and Tourism;
  • The Minister of Rural Housing and Social Amenities;
  • The Minister of Industry and International Trade;
  • The Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare;
  • The Minister of Economic Development;
  • The Minister of Health and Child Welfare;
  • The Minister of Information and Publicity;
  • The Minister of State for Policy Implementation;
  • Governor/Resident Minister; and
  • The Mayor's Office;

The main function of the Ad-hoc Inter Ministerial Committees shall be the implementation of the Cabinet decision, monitoring the co-ordinated operations of the reconstruction programme and reporting to Cabinet regularly on progress made.

Steering Committee: At the official level, there will be the Steering Committee comprising the following: —

  • Secretary for Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development (Chairman)
  • Secretary for Defence
  • Secretary for Small and Medium Enterprises Development
  • Secretary for Higher and Tertiary Education
  • Secretary for Home Affairs
  • Secretary for Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs
  • Secretary for Youth Development and Employment Creation
  • Secretary for State for National Security, Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement in the President's Office
  • Secretary for Science and Technology Development
  • Secretary for State and Water Resources and Infrastructure Development
  • Secretary for Environment and Tourism
  • Secretary for Rural and Social Amenities
  • Secretary for Industry and International Trade
  • Secretary for Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare
  • Secretary for Economic Development
  • Secretary for Health and Child Welfare
  • Secretary for Information and Publicity
  • Secretary for State for Policy Implementation
  • Secretary for Finance
  • Governor, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
  • Principal Director, District Development Fund and Infrastructure Development
  • Director-General, President's Department
  • Service Chiefs
  • Town Clerk
  • CEO, Zimbabwe National Water Authority
  • General Manager, SEDCO
  • Surveyor General

The main function of the Steering Committee will include the following:—

  • To mobilise material and financial resources
  • To set up a reconstruction fund;
    To identify affected and other deserving persons in need of housing;
  • To provide an interim basis, shelter, water, food, basic health facilities and other necessary logistical support to persons affected by the clean up campaign;
  • To allocate housing stands to the identified beneficiaries;
    To identify and register informal traders and SMEs and provide supporting infrastructure;
  • To carry out land survey, service stands and provide basic services as per requirements of municipality by-laws;
  • To design plans for vendors marts, factory shells, stalls, people's shops, home industries and residential housing plans;
  • To identify and engage construction brigades within the public and private sector to undertake reconstruction work;
  • To ensure that work is done continuously in order to meet the 30th August 2005 programme completion deadline; and
  • To do any other tasks as directed by the Ad-hoc Inter Ministerial Committee of policy-makers.

Inter Agency Operational Committee: This tier of the implementation structure is the operations hub for the reconstruction programme and shall be constituted as follows: —

Chief of Staff (Chair) ZDF

a. Principal Director, Public Works Department, Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development
b. Provincial Public Works Officers MLGPW and UD
c. OC Engine3ers Squadron
d. Ministry of Home Affairs (ZRP)
e. Ministry of Youth Sports and Recreation
f. Ministry of Water Resources and Infrastructure Development (ZINWA)
g. Ministry of Transport and Energy
h. Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education
i. Ministry of Rural Housing and Social Amenities
j. Zimbabwe Prison Service
k. Air Force of Zmbabwe (where possible)
l. Local Authority
m. Provincial Intelligence Officer
n. Provincial Administrator
p. Co-opted member per rising need

The structure cascades to district level.

Current provinces are defining their requirements and mobilising available construction resources as detailed at page 3 of 13 of the attached Operation Directive. One trillion dollars has been availed by Government so far as initial funding for the programme.

Harare Metropolitan Province have registered progress to date as detailed as follows:—

Progress to date:

(a) One trillion dollars has been availed to support the programme.

(b) Whitecliffe Site:

(i) The Ministry of Local Government Public Works and Urban Development, is constructing four Model Houses which are to be complete by end of day-to-day
(ii) Science Institute of Research and Development Centre is working on the model based on rammed earth technology, while Intermediate Technology Development Group is working on another structure premised on stabilised soil blocks.
(iii) Forestry Commission is working on a Timber Framed Model House.
(iv) Red River (Pvt) Ltd. is working on steel Rammed Model House.
(v) Ministry of Transport and Communications and District Development Fund have commenced opening of roads.
(vi) ZINWA is drilling bore-holes.
(vii) Foundations Excavation for 150 by 2 roomed core houses commenced on 25 June 2005.
(viii) Allocations of 9960 stands is complete and beneficiaries are receiving offer letters.
(ix) Ground is being cleared in preparations of moulding cement bricks and blocks on site.
(x) Construction Units have been mobilised from the Ministry of Youth Development and Employment Creation. More manpower is being mobilised.
(xi) Producers of requisite Construction materials are being approached to warehouse their materials on site.
(xii) Construction of carpentry workshop shells, and showrooms is in progress at Willowvale construction site.

(c) Hopley: Layout plans have been completed and survey has been instructed on 7 200 stands. Allocation of stands has started.

(d) Ordar/Glaudina Farms: Layout plan preparation is at an advanced stage

(e) Caledonia Transit Camp: (Currently holds 2 688 people)

(i) A police post has been established to maintain Law and Order.
(ii) Ministry of Health is running a mobile clinic.
(iii) Department of Social Welfare, UNICEF, Red Cross, Red Crescent, Christian Care, Just Children Foundation, Roman Catholic, European Commission and Ministers Fraternal are jointly to providing Social Services.

Launch of this Operation is tomorrow at 10 o'clock a.m. throughout the country.

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