Source: Govt to grab private land for civil servants’ homes – DailyNews Live January 13, 2017
HARARE – Government has said it will grab private land to allocate
residential stands to restive civil servants, with officials denying that
the State-facilitated housing project is a vote-buying gimmick ahead of
the 2018 elections.
In a bid to appease civil servants who are complaining about delayed
salary disbursements and unpaid 2016 bonuses, government intends to give
them residential stands at discounted rates.
When questioned by the Daily News on government’s capacity to allocate
land to all the 300 000-plus civil servants, during a meeting – where
government representatives, bank executives, construction companies and
the media were present – over the project on Wednesday, Local Government
ministry permanent secretary George Mlilo said the State will acquire
“There is no limit to the land we will provide, all land is State land and
if there is private land, we will go through the necessary processes to
get the land,” he said.
While the move risks contravening private property rights, Mlilo said it
was part of government’s Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic
Transformation (ZimAsset) which was launched three years ago.
“It is part of ZimAsset and it’s purely to improve the livelihoods of
people,” he said, adding that the scheme aims to allow civil servants to
achieve the dream of owning their own homes.
Already, 500 000 civil servants are estimated to have applied for stands
under the project.
However, Mlilo could not explain the timing of the project, which comes
just a little over 12 months before the crunch 2018 general elections.
Mlilo said he did not know why the project was being implemented at this
“I don’t know. We are saying we want to be transparent and you are allowed
to interrogate the processes but not speculate. It is not a political
gimmick,” he said.
Traditionally, Zanu PF has embarked on such projects – including writing
off residents’ council rates arrears across the country ahead of the 2013
polls – towards elections.
Mlilo said “funding will come from the beneficiaries themselves, who will
contribute on a monthly basis through deductions from the Salary Services
Bureau, which is projected to be around $15 million to $20 million”.