Felex Share Senior Reporter—
Government has identified land in various cities and towns for residential stands and construction of high-rise apartment blocks for civil servants as the non-monetary scheme for the State employees reaches the operational stage, The Herald can reveal. In some instances, building plans have already been drafted, with some of the land either owned by the State or councils, while in some areas it is already fully-serviced and ready for construction work to start.
Government has also come up with designs of the apartment blocks.
The modern and open plan proposed apartments will have two and three bedrooms and will cost between $32 000 and $70 000.
According to documents in our possession, in Harare 7,25 hectares has been allocated in Hatcliffe, Dzivaresekwa Extension and Retreat Farm.
The land is State land and yet to be serviced.
Civil servants who would have applied for land in Mashonaland Central will get 1,7ha of State land in Mvurwi and Bindura.
In Midlands, they will get over 16 hectares in areas such as Gweru, Kwekwe, Redcliff, Mvuma, Zvishavane, Gokwe and Shurugwi.
All the identified land in the province is owned by the State, save for that in Redcliff which is owned by the municipality.
The State land in Kwekwe (West End and Masasa Park) is reserved for flats.
In Masvingo, more than 30ha have been identified in Masvingo town and Chiredzi.
Most of it is municipal land, which is already serviced.
Mashonaland West has 2,8ha in Chinhoyi, Chirundu (State land) and Kadoma (municipal), which is already serviced.
In Manicaland, most of the land is in Dangamvura, Mutare (0,9ha) and St Josephs area (0,9ha), which is also serviced.
In Matabeleland South, the land is in Gwanda (0,2ha) and Beitbridge (1ha), with both sites owned by the respective municipalities.
In Mashonaland East, about 3,6ha of State land will be availed in Marondera, where there is an existing flat site.
Bulawayo has about 6,9ha of land to be allocated to civil servants, while in Matabeleland North 9ha of land will be in Lupane, Hwange and Victoria Falls.
Mrs Cecelia Alexander, the chairperson of the civil servants’ negotiating platform, the Apex Council, yesterday said the housing scheme had reached “the operational stage.” She said civil servants’ unions would be meeting officials from the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing tomorrow to iron out sticky issues.
“Government has identified land and has come up with designs of the flats which we have discussed and agreed on,” Mrs Alexander said.
“They have also given us information on all the sites which would have the flats throughout the country. We have since designed the registration forms for them to come up with a database.
“The cost structure for residential stands is still under discussion, but for the flats we have agreed on the price and it’s a matter of workers securing mortgages.”
Added Mrs Alexander: “On registration, our members are guided by the designs and price structure. Government had given us a deadline to submit the forms, but we wrote to them requesting for an extension as teachers were still on holiday.
“Now that they are back, we hope that the coordination will be easier. We are scheduled to meet on Thursday afternoon where we expect to submit the first batch of registration forms. We are happy with the progress so far and our members are excited.
“Some workers are hesitating to join the scheme thinking it’s connected to the bonus issue. It should be made clear that the residential stands process and bonus have been separated following the agreement that was reached between Apex Council and Government.”
Secretary for Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Engineer George Mlilo said he would give a detailed position after tomorrow’s meeting.
Government is addressing the national housing backlog among civil servants in line with the ZimAsset economic blueprint, which targets to provide 300 000 housing units by next year.
At least 500 000 civil servants are expected to benefit in the grand scheme, with financial institutions being roped in to offer affordable lines of credit.