Dakarai Mashava 13 March 2018
HARARE – APEX Council, the umbrella body for civil servants’ unions, has
said government has come up with a new national command housing scheme to
be launched by President Emmerson Mnangagwa soon.
This comes as government has launched numerous command projects in various
sectors – agriculture, fishery and forestry.
Cecilia Alexander, who was recently re-elected Apex Council chairperson,
made the announcement during belated International Women’s Day
celebrations hosted by the Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (Zimta) in
Harare on Saturday.
“They (government) intend to roll out a massive command housing scheme
…420 000 units are going to be constructed and 230 000 of these are to
benefit civil servants,” said the Apex Council chairperson.
She said the new housing scheme would be different from the one put in
place by former president Robert Mugabe’s government which required civil
servants to make monthly contributions of $150 each before the
construction of the houses.
“We put on hold the previous one because it required payment before the
construction. The new dispensation has a different approach to it.
“Unlike the previous one, beneficiaries will start paying on occupying the
housing units and not before,” said Alexander.
Former president Mugabe’s government had promised to kick-start the scheme
by building model flats in Harare, Bulawayo and other provincial capitals
but the initiative could not take off largely because civil servants had
refused to pay the $150 monthly contributions.
The civil servants argued that they were not supposed to pay because the
provision of the houses was supposed to be part of non-monetary incentives
promised by Mugabe’s government.
Meanwhile, civil servants have cautiously welcomed the appointment of
minister of State for Presidential Affairs and Monitoring, Implementation
of Government Programmes Simbarashe Mumbengegwi as the minister
responsible for the administration of the public service.
“We have since received communication from government to the effect that
minister Mumbengegwi is now responsible for the administration of the
“We are not sure if it is the right thing to be under a minister resident
in the president’s office. We are still seeking medical opinion; that is
why we have not sent any congratulatory messages,” said Alexander.
Mumbengegwi’s appointment comes after Zimta and the Apex Council had
written to Mnangagwa protesting against their relocation to the Office of
the President and Cabinet (OPC).
Early this month Zimta said the shunting of the civil service to the OPC
was an unconstitutional move by the government meant to disenfranchise
In the three-page letter dated January 19, signed by Zimta
secretary-general Tapson Nganunu Sibanda the teachers’ union attacked the
Mnangagwa administration for violating the Constitution.
“The shift of the civil service to the OPC will amount to acting in
violation of the supreme law of the land i.e. the Constitution of
Zimbabwe, in that the civil service will be left with no minister.
“This will be contrary to section 201 of the Constitution which mandates
that `the president must appoint a minister to be responsible for the
civil service,” reads part of the letter.
The absence of a minister in charge of government workers, according to
Zimta, was an assault on the civil service.
“In terms of section 203 (3) of the Constitution, the Civil Service
Commission also exercises its functions in accordance with general policy
directives which the minister responsible for the civil service may give.
“As announced, there will be no minister responsible for the civil service
owing to the re-configuration.