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‘Govt to build 500 000 houses for civil servants by mid next year’

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GOVERNMENT has announced an ambitious programme to build 500 000 housing units for civil servants in the next 18 months, as part of efforts to reduce the housing backlog and incentivise its workers.

BY XOLISANI NCUBE

Addressing a stakeholders’ meeting in Harare yesterday, Local Government ministry secretary, George Mlilo, dismissed suspicions that the project was politically timed to coincide with the run-up to the 2018 general elections to give the ruling Zanu PF party an upper hand.

“This is not a political project. Look, I am not a politician, I am an engineer. I don’t need to tell you what you want to hear. I tell you the truth,” he said.

Mlilo pleaded with stakeholders, including construction companies, banks and land developers, to co-operate on the project.

“I want to start deducting something from the civil servants by the end of March, but that would only be possible if we have something concrete. Everybody must participate,” he said.

Mlilo said they would come up with a user-friendly cost to make the houses affordable to civil servants. Government has pegged the stands at $4 per square metre to ensure affordability, with an additional $1 going towards administration fees. All payments will be made through the Salary Services Bureau, he said.

Mlilo accused some housing co-operatives of adopting politicians’ names in order to protect their illegal activities.

“They give themselves names like Sally Mugabe Housing Cooperative, Grace Mugabe, Mama Mafuyana Housing Co-operative and when you approach them, they tell you the First Lady is our patron. What would I do? I am only a man,” he said.

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