Understanding the Zimbabwe National Human Settlements Policy

by | Sep 3, 2021 | Business | 0 comments


Brian Rungano Temba

Yesterday, President Emmerson Mnangagwa officially launched the Zimbabwe National Human Settlements Policy (ZNHSP).
The announcement of the history making policy was accompanied by the commissioning of the new Junior Doctors` accommodation in Marimba.

The policy is a fulfilment of Government’s commitment to regularizing human settlement and ensuring that urbanites have decent accommodation.

Minister of State for Harare Metropolitan Province, Oliver Chidawu described the new policy as landmark.
He said it will clear the country of the ills people were subjected to in search of accommodation.

“We are enthused by the launch of the Human Settlement policy. We have previously struggled with land barons and this policy will pave way for a law abiding and orderly settlement in the country,” said Minister Chidawu.

Cabinet in November 2020 approved the National Human Settlement Policy that seeks to improve designs and utilities of human settlements.

The policy was drawn to address issues of illegal land parceling by land barons and assuring that provisions for social amenities and small and medium business have their space of operation in and around new settlements.

National Housing and Social Amenities Minister Hon. Daniel Garwe explained the economic potential of the policy.

“The launch of the Zimbabwe national human settlements policy will create a great leverage to interact with investment bodies in the country and region. The construction industry will also create employment,” said Minister Garwe.

The Policy ties together the Local Authorities, land developers and Central Government.

According to the Policy document the tenets of the ZNHSP include the following ;

Land access and tenure

Under the policy, all state land earmarked for human settlements development shall be managed through the Ministry responsible for human settlements development and the respective local authorities, for ease of co-ordination and accountability.
Clear and defensible tenure rights will be defined for all land categories nationally, and mechanisms for guaranteeing security of tenure shall be set-up.

The Ministries of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement, Local Government and Public Works and National Housing and Social Amenities ought to collaborate on management and allocation of State land.

Spatial planning

With regard to spatial planning, all settlements shall be planned by registered planners and mining companies shall be expected to submit Settlement Plans and Development Concepts to the local authority.
There will be no allocation of un-serviced and unplanned land to housing co-operations or individuals.

On-site and off-site infrastructure
According to the policy, the provision of bulk services ought to be the responsibility of both the Central Government and local authorities in both the rural and urban areas.

Since land is a finite resource, all productive agricultural land will be preserved as such.

Change of use will only be permitted on designated land while safeguarding all prime agricultural land.
In order to curb settlement sprawl induced by the desire for personal ownership, it will be instructive that at least 40 percent of the land for human settlements development must be reserved for development such as high-rise buildings and flats.
Mixed use vertical space utilisation will be promoted. Sub-division of low density stands will be permissible and encouraged, where there is a possibility to reticulate sewer.
The notion of densification in the Regional, Town and Country Planning Act (RTCPA) must be amended to suit the above-mentioned threshold from 10% to 40%.
Densification will also be expanded to include workspaces for Micro and Small to Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

Rental housing
The policy institutes measures to resuscitate and prioritise the rental market. The private sector is encouraged to venture into rental housing markets together with Government.


The policy seeks to address the ugly sites that are being experienced in all urban centres.
Every town and city in the country is surrounded by unplanned or informal settlements or settlements that are being serviced with pit latrines and open wells, something that does not speak to vision 2030.
The regularisation policy on all informal settlements will be regularised and sanitised through the use of a standardised protocol and development of a compensation and relocation framework where alternative land use warranting displacements is contemplated.

Rural settlements

Model settlements will be accessed by citizens and planned rural settlements will be piloted in resettlements areas, while the gap between the social amenities facilities in both the rural and urban areas will be bridged.
The development that is in urban areas is not taking place in rural areas instead there is a massive migration of people from rural to urban areas in pursuit of the infrastructure that is in the urban areas.
The policy seeks to close that gap. Government seeks to influence a migration of Zimbabweans from urban to rural areas by providing the facilities that are in urban areas in the rural settlement areas.