Felex Share Senior Reporter—
Cabinet has directed that residential stands being offered to civil servants as part of non-monetary incentives, be pegged at $4 per square metre to ensure affordability. Beneficiaries will pay an additional $1 as administration fee. All payments will be made through the Salary Services Bureau. This comes as more civil servants unions on Tuesday submitted nearly 113 000 names of aspiring beneficiaries.
A square metre of land in the high-density suburbs of Harare costs $4, while the same costs between $20 and $25 in low-density areas. The prices however, differ in smaller urban centres like Kadoma, with a square metre of land in high-density areas costing $2, while one will have to part with at least $5 for the same size of land in low-density areas.
Numbers of beneficiaries under the scheme are expected to balloon because Government is taking on board every civil servant, including those not members of the Apex Council. The list will, however, assist Government in allocating land in various cities and towns.
Secretary for Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Engineer George Mlilo yesterday said while stands were not for free, Government wanted to ensure they were affordable.
“We met with the workers on Tuesday and looked at the charges which people expect. The route is that it is a partnership between Government and civil servants where Government will make available land, not for free. As directed by Cabinet, the land will be going for $4 per square metre and an additional dollar will go towards administration fees.”
He added: “Urban Development Corporation (Udcorp) will service the land and all payments will be made through the Salary Services Bureau. “Beneficiaries will pay for on-site servicing and off site servicing. After paying the civil servants will get their title deeds.
“This facility is not for the Apex Council only, but the entire civil service regardless of grades and affiliation. People will choose the areas they need.”
During the meeting on Tuesday, Apex Council members and the Government team fine-tuned a Memorandum of Understanding which involves three signatories namely Apex Council, the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing and the Udcorp.
The MoU will be signed next week to pave way for the implementation of the project. Apex Council chairperson Mrs Cecilia Alexander said they had submitted 112 952 names to Government.
She said Harare had 23 483 potential beneficiaries, Manicaland 14 275, followed by Midlands (12 887), Mashonaland East (10 125), Bulawayo (9 352), Mashonaland West (9 098), Masvingo (5 938) and Mashonaland Central (9 061).
Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South provinces have a combined 18 733 registered potential beneficiaries. “The consolidated figures are clear evidence that the scheme has been well received by civil servants,” Mrs Alexander said.
“We have submitted the statistics to the Ministry of Local Government in a technical meeting which was very fruitful. Among other things, we also fine-tuned the MoU which involves three parties. We will sign the MoU next week and also look at the implementation matrix but the technical committee is ready to deliver.”
Mrs Alexander applauded Government for making the stands affordable. “We also agreed to the idea of bringing every worker on board. The technical committee has also agreed to include a representative from the CSC. Apex Council has been inclusive by incorporating without conditions lists from the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission and prisons.”
Housing delivery is one of the key goals of Zim-Asset and Government intends to provide 300 000 units by 2018. The housing scheme will go a long way in cushioning civil servants who have seen many schemes being established in their names but benefiting outsiders and political bigwigs.
This has resulted in many Government workers being duped by so-called land barons.