Leapfrog Developments – Gaps, Challenges and Opportunities in Urban Development: Cases of Harare and Durban


  • Lovemore Chipungu
  • Joseph Kamuzhanje
  • Elizabeth D Makonese
  • Hope H Magidimisha-Chipungu


leapfrog development, land reform, urban growth and urban development, planning frameworks


In 2000, the Government of Zimbabwe embarked on land reform
and land redistribution programme, popularly known as the “Fast
Track”. The programme was meant to correct the inequalities and
inequities in land ownership between the minority whites and the
majority blacks, and targeted agricultural land. At the same time, the
Government decided to address urban growth and expansion by
deliberately allocating some of the acquired farms for urban
development. This noble idea resulted in the “mushrooming” of
settlements in an almost unplanned fashion. Most of these
settlements were divorced from the master and local plans of most
urban centres and, therefore, lacked the necessary infrastructure such
as water, roads and sewerage systems and key social services such as
schools, clinics and waste management disposal systems did not exist.
Over 20 years later, the situation has barely improved, and the
outbreaks of diseases and pandemics such as cholera and typhoid are
testimony to this. The article, focusing on the Harare Metropolitan
Province and surrounding rural and urban local authorities and the
City of Durban in South Africa, seeks to investigate whether the landreform programme is the only reason for leapfrog developments that have characterised urban environments. The article relies heavily on
secondary data but makes use of primary data obtained through
discussions with relevant planning authorities. The article argues that
while the land reform programme played a key role, it is one of many
factors for these developments that have taken place in an
uncontrolled manner.