By Philmon Jambaya
The Harare City Council (HCC) has revealed plans to demolish the filth-ridden Mbare blocks of residential flats which have long become a hot spot for recurrent outbreaks of waterborne diseases such as typhoid.
Speaking to local media on Monday, council spokesperson Michael Chideme said the city has struck a deal with the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ) which has pledged to finance a massive reconstruction project set to replace the condemned buildings.
“We are going to sign a deal with CBZ which will see the bank and council building new flats in open spaces in Mbare,” Chideme said.
“We will unveil further details at the unveiling ceremony.”
This comes amid a fresh typhoid outbreak that has 30 confirmed cases of the fever recently.
Chideme said when the project starts, residents will be moved to alternative accommodation to pave way for the building of new flats.
“Residents will not be moved from their current houses before new houses are built,” he said.
An estimated 23 000 people occupy the run-down residential structures which include Matapi, Shawasha, Magaba, Mbare, Matererina and Nenyere flats.
The flats were built for a leaner population of just over 2 000 people on the south western parts of Harare’s CBD during the colonial era in the city’s oldest high density suburb.
But a ballooning city population coupled with an acute shortage of accommodation has seen the number of occupants surge to the current numbers, something that has been a source of concern for authorities who are battling outbreaks of diseases in the area.
The flats receive erratic water supplies further increasing the risk of diseases with unsightly scenes of raw sewage now a daily experience.