Government makes U-turn on title deeds

Housing Minister Daniel Garwe


GOVERNMENT has made an about-turn on its election promise to issue title deeds to settlers living in informal settlements with the Housing minister saying the document cannot be dished out on a silver platter.

In February, Zanu PF promised to issue 80 000 title deeds ahead of the March by-elections in statements that were dismissed by many as a campaign gimmick.

In an interview, Daniel Garwe last week sang a different tune on the issuance of title deeds saying government cannot regularise the stay of people who invaded State land.

“People are misunderstanding the issuance of title deeds as an event. It’s not an event, it’s a process. In the context of Zimbabwe, the issuance of title deeds is two-fold: The first one is an area such as this one where the settlement has been properly planned, roads constructed, water, sewer and everything,” Garwe said in an interview with NewsDay in Southview Park.

“The other one is that we are now looking at informal settlements like Epworth, Caledonia (Eastview) in Goromonzi. This land was invaded by land barons. It was not transferred from the Lands ministry to the Local Government ministry. That process is now taking place.

“You can’t just come and give a person a paper without the description of the property. So, the process gives rise to the creation of the proper description which appears on the title deed. The regularisation process is part of the title deeds issuance process.”

Coalition for Market and Liberal Solutions executive director Rejoice Ngwenya said it did not make sense that some of the settlements have not been formalised for decades.

“We are all aware that some settlements were done illegally. They now need to be given title deeds. Transfer must be done effectively because they can’t rent those houses for the rest of their lives,” he said.

Kushinga Epworth Residents Trust co-ordinator John Mabwe told NewsDay that the regularisation exercise was mired in corruption.

Epworth Residents Development Association secretary Peter Nyapetwa accused Zanu PF of politicising title deeds for votes ahead of the 2023 elections.

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