Govt makes U-turn on title deeds

Govt makes U-turn on title deeds
Govt makes U-turn on title deeds

Africa-Press – Zimbabwe. GOVERNMENT has revealed that it is not going to issue title deeds for unserviced stands, including in Harare’s populous dormitory town of Epworth where President Emmerson Mnangagwa promised to dole out the documents ahead of the August 2023 harmonised elections.

Harare residents recently quizzed the government over Mnangagwa’s promise to regularise some informal settlements where hundreds of title deeds were handed out ahead of the elections.

Mnangagwa promised to dole out more than 11 000 title deeds to Epworth residents a month before the polls, while Cabinet endorsed the Kwangu/Ngakwami Presidential Title Deeds Programme Consortium.

The programme was expected to provide the financial and technical support required for the issuance of the title deeds.

Mnangagwa followed up his promise by handing out 265 securitised title deeds to selected Epworth residents and pledged to avail more as he launched the programme at Epworth High School.

A title deed is a formal document legally defining how a property is allotted by an authority, owned and transferral by the holder.

NewsDay learnt that only a handful of people with close ties to the ruling Zanu PF party received the title deeds and the Zanu PF government appears to have abandoned the project post-elections.

Housing and Social Amenities minister Zhemu Soda told the National Assembly on Wednesday that government was working with the private sector to regularise residential stands in urban areas.

He was responding to questions from legislators on the issuance of title deeds in urban centres.

“The ministry, in partnership with the private sector is working to ensure that allocated stands that are yet to be serviced are regularised through the user principle,” Soda said.

“The beneficiaries in those areas are expected to pay for certain services to ensure that the road infrastructure, water and sewage reticulation are in place. Without proper servicing of these stands, the government cannot issue title deeds.

“This is what the government is trying to regularise so that this leads to the occupants receiving title deeds to use as collateral for loans.”

Soda said his ministry had also started preparing towards the regularisation of the settlements, adding that not all would be entitled to title deeds.

“We would want to ensure that the settlement is good and people can be given deeds for occupancy of such an area,” he said.

It has since emerged that Mnangagwa did not distribute title deeds during his campaign trail, but deeds of grant.

A deed of grant is issued when development of key infrastructure has been completed, including roads, sewage and water reticulation systems, among others.

The rights to the property are granted by the State to the beneficiary in question and the State can include any conditions precedent to the transference of the rights.

Conditions can include land use and other related matters.

Zanu PF has always used land as a campaign tool ahead of elections.

Some critics argue that it is the same reason the government has not given 99-year leases to beneficiaries of the land reform programme, advertently making them perennial tenants on the land they are occupying.

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