Govt to grab private land for civil servants' homes

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 private land.

“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 time.

“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”.

Comments (3)

So where do they get the money to build those homes if they cannot be paid? I smell a rotten fish?

Okech - 13 January 2017

give civil servants money so they buy stands of their choice, with no string attached.

Tafirenyika - 13 January 2017

Ensure there are sound economic policies. This is bloody nonsense... and you wonder why even the Chinese won't make any significant investment!

Young Zimbo - 13 January 2017

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