Home » General » Census – 59 Percent Own Houses

At least 59 percent of Zimbabweans live in their own houses, a state of affairs attributed to Government’s progressive housing programmes initiated since Independence in 1980.The 2012 Census National Report shows that 19 percent of the population are lodgers, 12 percent are in tied accommodation, while 3 percent are tenants.

With the majority of the population living and working in rural areas due to land reforms, most people have built houses while those in urban areas tend to either rent or live in company accommodation, with the remainder holding title deeds.

According to the ZimStat Compendium of Statistical Concepts and Definitions Used in the Zimbabwe National Statistical System, a tenant occupies the whole dwelling unit and generally pays electricity and water charges to the local authority.

The report states that in all provinces, owners of houses constituted the largest proportion, except in Harare and Bulawayo.

Government has pledged to accelerate housing development programmes through public and private partnerships in line with Zim-Asset, with a target of 125 000 housing units set to be built between 2013 and 2018 as per the aims of the economic blueprint.

Urban planning expert Mr Percy Toriro said housing plans had shifted from horizontal to vertical in light of land availability limitations.

“We should encourage a culture of building upwards given the finite nature of land. Everyone should get land for housing but people should be taught that they can stay comfortably on small yards,” he said.

Mr Toriro said the colonial legacy of the rich having big yards at the expense of crowding out the majority should end.

“People used to admire white people because they had big yards and this was synonymous with status. We have to convince people, including the rich, that having smaller pieces of land can still be comfortable,” he said.

Harare North Housing co-operative chairman Mr Misheck Mangwende said housing co-operatives were playing a huge role in ensuring people had access to property.

“We are working with the Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development Ministry. We also work with land developers who have capacity to develop water and sewer facilities.

“We have changed plans and we are encouraging people to build high-rise buildings that do not take up much space,” he said.

Wiriranayi Housing co-operative chairman Mr Justin Mujaranji added: “Sometimes we have to build a core house for the member and he later develops the house.”

According to the census report, 51 percent of households live in traditional dwelling units (thatched, pole and dagga) and 44 percent occupy modern properties.

“The proportion of households not using electricity in the country was 56 percent. The proportion of households occupying dwelling units with electricity ranged from 19 percent in Masvingo to 91 percent in Bulawayo,” reads the report.

Source : The Herald