25 January 2013

Zimbabwe: 'Construct Proper Houses in Rural Areas'

Matabeleland South Governor and Resident Minister Cde Angeline Masuku has called on local authorities to set the benchmark for housing construction in rural areas. This follows the destruction of substandard houses during heavy rains across Zimbabwe.

Governor Masuku was in Beitbridge yesterday for a Civil Protection Unit meeting.

Forty houses were destroyed while 110 people were displaced during storms that hit the district recently.

The rains have also claimed nine lives in Beitbridge. Most of the destroyed houses were made of poles and mud while others had been constructed on river banks.

The most affected were people living at Chituripasi and Tshikwalakwala areas.

It is understood that over 800 goats and 600 donkeys were swept away by floods.

"Local authorities should be on the forefront of improving the standard of living in rural areas as we have witnessed that most of the community's houses were destroyed by the rains.

"We are saying these (local authorities) should set by laws and supervise the construction of proper houses."

She said Government had done its part through programmes such as Operation Garikayi/Hlalani Kuhle.

She, however, said the programme was severely affected by the illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by Britain and its Western allies.

Governor Masuku said the local authorities should also engage other stakeholders in finding long term solutions to the housing problems. She called on the Civil Protection Unit to maintain a budget for disasters and other eventualities in the districts and provinces.

Governor Masuku said Government should consider having a helicopter resident in each of the country's ten provinces.

She also said the CPU had since courted a partner interested in constructing 11 two-roomed houses in Tshikwalakwala were 34 people were left stranded after the heavy rains.

"We are aware that most irrigation schemes which are a source of livelihood for the community were destroyed and we are going to engage the ministry of agriculture to revive these," she said.

Governor Masuku said there was also need repair the damaged roads in the district.

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