By Enacy Mapakame
Local authorities should comply with the laws if they are to attract meaningful property and infrastructure investment into the country, Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister July Moyo has said.
Speaking at the inaugural Zimreal Property Investment Forum in Harare yesterday, Minister Moyo said this would create a conducive environment that enables investors to get a return on capital.
He said it was essential how potential investors viewed the country’s cities, growth points and rural areas while identifying areas of opportunities to invest their money.
Minister Moyo said the conference had come at an opportune time that Zimbabwe is ready to take off, in light of the Zimbabwe is Open for Business mantra.
But to achieve this, adhering to proper local authority laws and urban planning was necessary and would enable potential investors to understand the nature of infrastructure required in the country before they start developing the properties.
“We cannot take off as a country if investors don’t understand where there will be houses, schools, clinics and the rest of the infrastructure that is needed to invest in. All local authorities, let’s go back to basics, the rule of law requires that we adhere to physical planning, to all urban planning by-laws, adhere to housing by laws and all financial laws must be apply if these property developers are to come,” he said.
There are 92 local authorities in Zimbabwe, both urban and rural.
Minister Moyo said rural authorities also needed to adhere to urban planning laws as portions of rural areas are beginning to adopt urban set ups.
In most of these areas, mansions fit for cities’ upmarket suburbs have been developed but without any proper urban planning and developments such as roads, water and sewer reticulation.
The problem is prevalent in urban centres as well where new settlements sprouted in the past two decades with bogus developers taking advantage of desperate home-seekers, to sell land without proper developments.
Minister Moyo said Government continued working on creating an ideal environment that enabled property and infrastructure development to enhance the attractiveness of the country and its cities.
Currently, there has been a general “decay” of central business districts in the country, which has resulted in commercial properties suffering high voids with companies moving into office parks and suburban areas.
However, concerns remain that the same suburban areas are not conducive enough for office space as the areas were originally designated for residential purposes.