The Government has declared a state of emergency in Mbare’s New Line area which is now in dire need of a face-lift.

The area has communal toilets which do not function properly resulting in sewage flowing onto the street.

The Government has ordered that devolution funds be redirected to refurbish housing, sewer systems and ensure that garbage is collected in the area.

Families in the most dilapidated houses will be profiled and provided with temporary shelter while their houses are demolished so that they are replaced with new blocks of flats.

Speaking at a post-Cabinet media briefing in Harare on Tuesday, Acting Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Jenfan Muswere, said:

Cabinet wishes to inform the nation that a fact-finding visit to the New Lines area in Mbare, Harare, by the Ministers of National Housing and Social Amenities, and Industry and Commerce, as well as officials from the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works, and the City of Harare, revealed that the situation is dire and requires immediate intervention.

Some of the problems are that the Harare City Council, which charges monthly rentals of US$100 per room, is not carrying out any repairs and maintenance and blockages are attended to by volunteers.

Attorney-General, Advocate Prince Machaya, explained that the state of emergency declaration by Cabinet was necessitated by the deplorable situation in Mbare. Said Machaya:

What Cabinet agreed was that the situation in the New Lines area has become so dire that it has become a situation of emergency which needs to be attended to immediately.

It was not a declaration under the Civil Protection Act, Cabinet merely noted that this was a situation that needed immediate action because the houses in that area were built a long time ago, in 1912. They have communal toilets which do not function properly resulting in sewage flowing onto the street, garbage going uncollected and the houses themselves need attention.

Muswere added that the Ministry of Health and Child Care has been directed to ensure health and safety in the area.