Media Alert on State of Matapi Flats 05
Media Alert on State of Matapi Flats
05 April 2019, Matapi Flats –The Harare Residents Trust (HRT) on Wednesday 3 April 2019 toured
the hostels in Mbare to review the living conditions of the residents there. Interviews were made
with residents, council officials and the local Ward Councillor to find out more about what is
prevailing in the community. The tour followed immediately a day after the deputy Minister of Local
Government, Public Works and National Housing Jennifer Mhlanga toured the flats and showcased
Block 4 Matapi Flats, which had been painted by the City of Harare with support of the Government
under the Transitional Stabilization Programme (TSP) priority projects. The iconic flats are virtually
dilapidated are set to undergo a massive transformation if the Government’s pronouncements are
anything to go by. In separate interviews residents expressed concern over their exclusion from the
decision-making processes on prioritization of what projects to undertake on the aged flats.
Residents believe they were the ones who were supposed to give the Government and the Council
their order of priorities within the urban renewal programme to make it more public participatory.
The tour revealed that while the Council and the Government have prioritized the painting of the
outside of the flats to look nice and beautiful, the inside leaves one shocked and traumatized at how
these residents live the way they do with flowing sewer flowing in their toilets and bathrooms. The
sinks are collapsed and human waste is evident. The walls have huge evident cracks, which threaten
their lives every day. Three or more families may share one room, and there is no privacy, risking
sexual harassment, with couples sleeping the same room with their elderly children, which runs
against our culture. Poor sewer reticulation and inconsistent refuse collection has become a major
problem in the suburb.
According to James Jenkins (39) there is a serious shortage of toilets as one block consisting of 17
different rooms share one toilet, which has deteriorated to the extent that residents now resort to
the banks of the nearly Mukuvisi River to relieve themselves. There is no running water to clean the
human waste strewn on the floors. Yet Sikusakhula Kawamba lives inside the room opposite this
toilet, which is like she lives in the toilet. The bathrooms are dysfunctional and there is filthy water
on the worn-out floors. Anne Kawara (67) said it is better to take a bath outside at night than to be
in these horrible bathrooms. Another resident Joyce Mativenga (52) seemed disturbed with the
current state of the toilets as she thinks the Council is showing some sort of negligence to the
residents in Matapi. Residents said the Council’s workers who are employed to clean the toilets are
not cleaning up the toilets, despite the residents taking turns to bring water for that purpose.
According to Austin Chisora (46), the sinks need to be renovated; the taps do not have water.
Women have borne the brunt of daily fetching water in the filthy bathrooms for washing their dishes
and they do their laundry in the same sinks. Fortunately, they have not had many cases of diarrhea
disease outbreaks, and they say they live by the grace of God. The sewer bursts are not being
attended to on time as raw sewer can be seen flowing especially in blocks 1, 2, 3 and 4.
The Mbare Matapi flats are over populated. Antoinette Marijeni (32) said people in Matapi Flats
need to be relocated as they are living with an average of two to three families in one room. She
seemed disturbed that she is sharing one room with her brother in-law and his family. They do not
have security and privacy in their homes. Due to shortage of accommodation small girls have been
exposed to prostitution as they tend to share bedrooms with boys from the same blocks they live in,
said one concerned resident Muchaneta Mazindi (65).
The ZESA substation which is behind Mbare Matapi District Office is in such an awful state and it
needs immediate attention. According to Bright Muchafirei (23 ) said during the rainy season they
face electricity challenges as water gets inside the substation leaving them without electricity most
of the time. The residents are pleading with the electricity service provider to urgently attend to the
The HRT has alerted the different service providers on the pressing residents’ needs.
For further details, please contact Portia Chando of the HRT on 0773 793 399. A full report detailing
the findings of the HRT tour will be shared with the Government, the City of Harare and the
Contact Details: firstname.lastname@example.org/ email@example.com, 086 771 09781, 0772 380 927, 0772 869
294, and www.hrt.org.zw,