Government is in the process of allowing local authorities in mining towns to run all residential accommodation in a bid to ensure that the residents continue to receive normal services even after the mines are closed.
This comes as many closed mines have turned into health hazards with no one providing services such as sewer, water and collecting refuse.
Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister July Moyo recently told parliament that there are a lot of mining compounds that were run by mining concessions and have not been handed over to local councils, a thing which Government is pushing for to ensure residents are protected.
Minister Moyo said Government has been encouraging mines to handover the provision of services to local authorities even when they are still operational.
“The local authority has not taken over the housing or the services in a lot of these old mines like Shabani-Mashava Mines .
“What we are afraid of is where a mine is now in trouble and all of sudden the people are still living there with no services in terms of refuse collection, sewerage and water and that is what we are trying to avoid.
“So we will continue to negotiate with mining concessions to let the local authorities to take over the running of the mining compounds as far as residential accommodation is concerned and they can concentrate on mining,” said Minister Moyo.
Government wants to make sure that the infrastructure that is put in an area is consistent with the settlement that has been planned in that area.
Department of Physical Planning or Local Government Ministry, who approves council’s local plans, supervises development control and that development control will ensure that unplanned additional accommodation is not erected.
Government is looking at all the housing projects that have taken place in the country where it feels that the areas are not equipped with water, sewerage and other infrastructure that goes with proper service delivery.
Minister Moyo said the authorities are not just looking at Garikai houses but all the housing that has taken place and are unplanned throughout the country.
He said: “In Bulawayo as you indicate, in addition to the Garikai built places, there are 15 others where there is no infrastructure that will require a better housing project if it was properly planned.
“All development that occurs within a local Government area can be developed by private sector, Government or the councils themselves.
The responsibility for continuing to run those housing projects first have to lie with the local authority for services and if the infrastructure has been put by the developer, yes the local authority still takes over the running of those local authorities.”
He said there are grey areas obviously where something has been built and is not within an urban local authority, is at the border and is in the rural district council area and there has been dispute as to who ought to run that area.
All the buildings should be built under provisions of Rural District Councils Act or the Urban Councils Act or the Urban Development Corporation Act, to make sure that they are under these jurisdictions.