The country’s restive civil servants struggling under devastating poverty, late payments of their salaries, threats of no 2016 bonuses, may soon find comfort in 100 000 stands, government plans to dish out.
The state media reports that at least 100 000 civil servants countrywide are set to get residential stands as part of non-monetary incentives under a scheme being worked on by the Government. Chairpersons of civil servants unions have since been tasked to compile lists of willing beneficiaries and submit them to the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing on Tuesday. The lists will be used to allocate land in various cities and towns.
The workers on Tuesday met Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere to work on the modalities of the scheme. Housing delivery is among key goals of Zim-Asset which targets 300 000 housing units by 2018. Secretary for Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Engineer George Mlilo said: “We met them, they made their submissions and we are looking at them.” Speaking after the meeting, Apex Council team leader Mrs Cecelia Alexander said next Tuesday’s meeting will all be about the implementation matrix.
She said the project was targeting 100 000 Government workers. “The process has already started,” she said.
“We are now working on the framework and our representatives throughout the country are going to register those willing to benefit from the housing scheme. The programme is open to all civil servants. Required information includes full name, contact number, preferred area and they must also indicate whether they need low, medium or high-density.”
The specific housing scheme will come as a relief to civil servants as many programmes established in their name have ended up benefiting outsiders and political bigwigs. This has left Government workers prone to exploitation by land barons.
Said Mrs Alexander: “The issue of housing for civil servants has been on the cards for a long time and we want to thank Government for the positive and decisive response on this matter. This development will go a long way in alleviating the housing problems faced by civil servants, some of whom have fallen prey to land barons.” College Lecturers’ Association of Zimbabwe president Mr David Dzatsunga said following several engagements with Government this month, they were optimistic the scheme would be a success.
“We resolved that modalities to do with paying for development will be worked out. What came out from the meeting is that land is abundant in most small centres with Harare singled out as problematic. For Harare, we have been told that land is accessible in Norton, Chishawasha and Manyame.”
Mr Dzatsunga said ways would be sought to bring banks such as the National Building Society on board. “It has also been resolved that Old Mutual would be approached for funding of the envisaged projects,” he said.
“We are calling upon all the chairpersons to compile lists of persons willing to be considered for these schemes before November 1, 2016. The names will be submitted to the ministry at a technical meeting to be held on the same day at 2.30 pm at Makombe Building.”
Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe secretary general, Mr Raymond Majongwe said: “The most important thing is we are engaging Government to have access to a piece of land where we can build houses and restore our status.
“While we appreciate that Government cannot improve our salaries because of the economic situation we find ourselves in, they must think outside the box and give us land whose value can be equal to a salary increment. This is the best thing Government can do to its suffering but loyal workers. We say thank you to Government for considering the plight of the workers and we believe it will be just hot air. This will turn out to be one of the best things done for civil servants since 1980.”
Government recently engaged civil servants for three days and tabled some of the non-monetary incentives being worked. Apart from housing issues, Government wanted to inform the workers on the ongoing rationalisation exercise, shift in pay dates, impending introduction of bond notes as well as pension and medical aid benefits. Experts in various fields attended the meetings.state media