Zim housing crisis laid bare

ZIMBABWE is facing a housing crisis that has left nearly half of its urban population of almost 5,7 million people living in rented accommodation, while the national housing waiting list stands at over two million, latest official statistics show.

Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStat) director-general Taguma Mahonde made the revelations while presenting the 2022 housing and population census results at a Press conference in the capital yesterday.

“Rural areas reported the highest proportion of owner occupancy at 76,8%. Urban areas reported the highest proportion of lodger occupancy at 42,7%,” Mahonde said.

The country reportedly has a housing backlog of around two million.

According to ZimStat’s preliminary results released last month, Zimbabwe’s population grew by 16,2% to 15 178 979 from 13,1 million in 2012.

The population constituted 3 818 992 households, giving an average of four persons per household.

The 2022 national population census, for the first time, captured data on living conditions and access to basic needs such as water and electricity as local authorities fail to meet the demand for social services.

“In terms of access to amenities, the majority of households, at 38%, did not have any source of electricity, 34% used grid electricity while 28% used off grid electricity like solar and other means,” Mahonde said.

“Of the households that indicated use of grid electricity, 84% were in urban areas. Of the households that did not have electricity, 83,7% were in rural areas.

“Nationally, 83% of the dwelling units were modern. About 16% of the dwelling units were traditional. Traditional dwelling units were mostly in rural areas (97,6%).”

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (Unicef) said the rural population, especially in Masvingo and Matabeleland, was sitting on a health time bomb after Mahonde revealed that most households in the two provinces practise open defecation.

“Matabeleland North and Masvingo provinces has the largest proportion of households (that) are practising open defecation. In the two provinces, such households constituted 50% and 35%, respectively,” he said.

Addressing the same meeting, Unicef country representative Tajudeen Oyewale said the statistics were a cause for concern.

“The issue of open defecation has been discussed. It is a cause for concern as this a recipe for disaster and this will affect children more than anyone else,” he said. Newsday.

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