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Govt accelerates smart cities implementation

The smart cities concept needs to be implemented in line with the recently launched climate policy, President Mnangagwa said yesterday.

Te Government had sent a team led by Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo to the United Arab Emirates to study how best the concept can be fully implemented.

He said the idea was to build climate-resilient structures and create settlements free of carbon emissions within Zimbabwe.

President Mnangagwa was speaking during the commissioning of 28 staff houses built for public servants under the Beitbridge Redevelopment Programme, which seeks to transform the border town into a medium city.

The houses bring to 52 the number of what are known as F14 houses which have been built for Government workers in Beitbridge.

About five of the new houses had their roof partially damaged by a storm yesterday which also damaged roofs on several private properties.

In addition, 16 blocks of garden flats are under construction to accommodate 64 families, while another border staff village of 264 is being constructed as a part of the US$300 million Beitbridge Border Modernisation project.

“As part of our efforts towards dealing with climate change, my Government has developed a policy on the establishment of smart cities where people can live, work and play in a carbon-free environment,” said President Mnangagwa.

“Currently, our Minister of Local Government is already in the United Arab Emirates which is known for smart cities

“So, we have sent our people to go and study how to construct smart cities in Zimbabwe and that will assist.”

The President said under phase one of the policy, the Government was targeting the development of smart cities in Melfort, just east of Ruwa in Mashonaland East, Chirundu in Mashonaland West, and Figtree in Matabeleland South.

The Governments had to mitigate and adapt to the ongoing effects of climate change, largely the result of the industrial revolution spearheaded by the First World.

“So at the recent climate indaba in Scotland, our position as Africa was that for us to stop using some methods causing emissions, the developed world must give US$100 billion to invest in alternative sources of energy including solar.

“I, therefore, urge local authorities, the private sector, and other stakeholders to also play their part in complementing Government efforts towards the provision of affordable housing for all,” he said.

President Mnangagwa lambasted local authorities countrywide for sleeping on duty in terms of providing adequate housing.

“All local authorities, urban or rural, should be addressing the question of housing with the central Government coming in to complement what they are doing.

“The Government on the other hand is constructing more institutional houses countrywide to ease the accommodation challenges among its dedicated public servants. I have also instructed the responsible ministry to expedite the completion of the remaining standalone houses and resumption of works on the apartment units,” said the President.

Government was in the midst of mobilising more resources to ensure that it completes all stalled national housing projects across the country and so achieve the goal of guaranteeing that Zimbabweans have access to decent and affordable housing in line with the aspirations of the recently launched Zimbabwe human settlements policy.

“The resultant increase in construction activity will also stimulate economic growth given the upstream and the downstream linkages of the infrastructure development sector. We will build our country alone and none will do it for us, our country we will rule alone, none will help us on that aspect,” said President Mnangagwa.

Government was also adopting new building technologies to cut costs and shorten the construction time of more housing units

“As we move towards the attainment of Vision 2030, the Government has adopted the concept of urban regeneration and renewal throughout the country.

“The National Housing and Public Works Ministry were is seized with this matter. In fact, the Second Republic will leave no stone unturned towards restoring order, the dignity of persons on access to housing services in all communities,” added President Mnangagwa.

He stressed that proper planning and provision of requisite ancillary services was critical in housing development.

The commissioning of the houses also coincided with the belated commemoration of the UN World Habitat Day.

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