Tendai Rupapa Senior Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Defence Forces last year provided more than 5 000 housing stands and also constructed 381 houses for its members countrywide, through the ZDF Benefit Fund (ZDF-BF). ZDF is actively trying to complement Government’s effort to reduce the national housing backlog. Construction of houses on the stands is already underway in all the country’s 10 provinces.
Addressing ZDF-BF’s 14th general meeting at One Commando in Harare on Thursday, ZDF Commander General Constantino Guveya Dominic Chiwenga said the organisation took a deliberate decision to empower its members through owning properties in areas of their choice. “Zimbabwe Defence Forces Benefit Fund managed to construct 321 four-roomed houses and 60 cottages countrywide over the past year,” he said.
“In addition, the fund has continued to acquire and develop residential stands across the country for its members.
“These initiatives are meant to accelerate the implementation of the Zim-Asset and the underpinning 10-point Plan for economic growth through creation of employment among the youths, as some are gainfully employed during the construction phases of these projects around the country.” Gen Chiwenga said different contractors had been allocated 20 units.
After completing the first batch, a contractor qualifies to get another 20 units in order to avoid overburdening them, according to Gen Chiwenga. He also encouraged the fund to invest in strategic, low-risk ventures.
“On the investment front, I would like to encourage the fund to widen up the scope of investments, emphasis must be put on the acquisition of commercial buildings in strategic areas,” said Gen Chiwenga.
“This will ensure security of member’s subscriptions because buildings do not suffer much in this challenging economy.” Acting Army Commander Major-General Douglas Nyikayaramba said the house allocations had boosted morale among members of the army, as they could now fully associate with and appreciate Government’s socio-economic policies.
He said the fact that members were getting houses in their home areas had also helped in unifying the forces with their relatives and also improving their image in society.
Chairperson of the fund’s board of trustees Mr Sijabuliso Biyam, who presented an annual financial report of the fund at the meeting, noted that they were able to acquire land in Beitbridge, where a new shopping complex will be constructed.
“The board of trustees will continue to ensure that it does not lose sight of the main objective of the fund, which is to provide accommodation and financial assistance to members at affordable rates,” he said.
“The fund also has houses across the country, which are being rented to members of the public and the proceeds are boosting our funds.”
The financial statements show that subscriptions rose from $24,8 million in 2014 to $33,5 million in 2016.