DEALING WITH CONSTRUCTION PERMITS AND REGISTERING PROPERTY THEMATIC WORKING GROUP

 

A)     Dealing with Construction Permits

 

Goal:

 

Reduce the number of days required to obtain construction permits from 448 days to 120 days by 13 May 2016

 

Milestones:

  1. 1.        Situational Analysis
  2. 2.        Legislative Framework Review
  3. 3.        Revised Operational Framework
  4. 4.        Capacity enhancement
  5. 5.        Public Awareness

 

 What are Construction Permits?

They are building plan approvals and specialised development or special consent or subdivision permits.

 

Which entities are involved in ease of doing business reforms under Construction Permits?

 

­The Main Entities in the processing of Construction Permits are

  • Local Authorities represented by City of Harare

•       NSSA

  • EMA

­The other entities are TelOne and ZESA Holdings whose interests are to ensure that building plans and boundary walls do not disturb their cables.

 

What are the highlights of reforms achieved to date by the Group?

 

The major reforms are:

 

  1. 1.        One Stop Shop Building Plan Approval System

 

This replaced the old system where one copy of a plan was circulated to City of Harare Departments and External Entities. Now, representatives of departments and external entities come together in one sitting to consider and approve plans.

 

How long does it take to have building plans approved?

 

Under one stop shop it now takes one week to approve a building plan, assuming that there are no snags with the plan. The success rate of plans without snags that are approved at each sitting currently stands at 34%.

 

  1.  Amendment of model building byelaws

 

The amendments to model building byelaws which among others reduce the advertising time from 35 days to 14 days which were done and gazetted on 01 April 2016.

 

What has been done to publicise the reforms?

 

  1. Attendance of feedback meetings with residents
  2. Publication of checklists and procedure manuals on the website and bill boards
  3. Use of electronic and print media
  4. The Convening of publicity workshop with stakeholders
  5. Our presence at the ZITF

Are you comfortable with your 120 day target?

 

No – the intention is to reduce the period through on-going reforms and continuous system improvements so that the target is reduced to 60. There are plans for further reforms such as the intention for entities dealing with Construction Permits to be fully computerised. This will make it possible for clients to do online submission of plans. This will immensely reduce the target to just a week or two.

 

Are there other Reforms that are under consideration?

 

Yes - The Regional, Town and Country Planning Act is being amended to reduce on the time period it takes to get a specialised development or special consent or subdivision permit.

 

 

B)     Registering Property

Goal:

 

Reduce the number of days for registering property from 36 days to 14 days by 13 May 2016

 

Milestones:

 

  1. Situational Analysis:
  2. 2.        Legislative Framework Review
  3. 3.        Streamlined Procedures
  4. 4.        Capacity Enhancement
  5. 5.        Public Awareness

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is Registering Property?

 

It is the process by which the exchange of ownership of immovable property is lawfully done through issuance and/or transfer of title deeds of the property.

 

Which entities are involved in ease of doing business reforms under Property Registration?

 

Property registration processes are generally handled by the following four entities

  • Conveyancers
  • Local Authorities Represented by City of Harare
  • ZIMRA and
  • The Deeds Office

 

The fifth entity whose liaison with the public is less than the four above is the Surveyor General’s Department. It provides cadastral services which are critical in the property sector.

What are the highlights of reforms achieved to date by the Group?

 

  1. Streamlined Procedures

 

Procedure

No. of days

Previous  

Current

Prep. of draft Deeds etc by conveyancer

3

3

Issuance of rates clearance by City of HRE

14

3

Application to ZIMRA for Capital gains tax clearance

14

5

Issuance of capital gains tax clearance by ZIMRA

2-10

Registration of title by Registrar of Deeds

14

3

 

2      Legislative Changes

 

The Principles for amending the Deeds Registries Act (Chapter 20:05) mainly to permit digital/electronic storage of records and allow the provision of online services are with Cabinet for their consideration and/or approval.

 

 

 

  1. Capacity Enhancement

 

In order to enhance the quality of conveyancing, all 20 Examiners at the Deeds O_ ce Harare went through 7 conveyancing training modules in March 2016 and a two day Continued Professional Development training for conveyancers is scheduled for the third week of April.

 

  1. Online links within entities

 

Establishment of online links between the City of Harare Finance Dept. and District Offices so that payments made at any of these offices are reflected instantly throughout the system.

 

What has been done to publicise the reforms?

 

  1. Publication of checklists and other materials on bill boards and entities’ website
  2. Use of electronic and print media
  3. Our presence at the ZITF and
  4. The staging of a workshop with stakeholders

 

Are there other Reforms that are under consideration?

 

Yes. The full computerisation of processes within Property Registration entities including digitalisation of Deeds Office Records as well as establishment of online links between them so that most processes are done at the click of a button and registration can be reduced to a day or two.