The government has rolled out an ambitious housing scheme offering civil servants and staff at universities housing stands in preferred cities.
By NQOBANI NDLOVU
However, opposition parties have immediately raised their misgivings over the programme, which they say was tantamount to electioneering ahead of the harmonised elections.
The programme is co-ordinated by the Local Government, Public Works and National Housing ministry, permanent secretary in the Higher and Tertiary Education ministry Francis Gudyanga said in a memo to State universities staff association representatives.
In the memo dated August 31, Gudyanga said interested civil servants must apply for the stands through the staff development and welfare office for the yet-to-be unveiled stands to ease the accommodation crisis faced by State workers.
“Please be advised that the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing is in the process of rolling out a massive residential scheme for civil servants and staff of State universities. You are encouraged to apply for accommodation under the scheme through the staff development and welfare office,” the memo read.
The opposition Zapu party, however, said the move was a vote-buying gimmick, with party spokesperson Iphithule Maphosa questioning why the government was dangling the carrot towards elections.
Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere has also promised housing stands for the youth, but is yet to deliver on the promise.
In Bulawayo, Kasukuwere promised to provide 20 000 housing stands at the Umvutsha Farm on the outskirts of the city to youth.
Umvutsha was reportedly grabbed from white commercial farmer Rick Burton.
“Why has it taken the government so long time to give the stands to civil servants? Most urban local authorities are battling to clear housing backlogs because of the shortages of revenue and expansion land. This is clearly a campaign stunt by Zanu PF,” Maphosa said during a Press briefing yesterday.
The ministry in its memo, however, seemed to be forging ahead with its ambitious exercise to dole out housing stands despite criticism of electioneering.
“Please complete the attached application forms and submit to the staff development and welfare office on or before Monday, 18 September 2017. Do not miss out on this opportunity!” the letter read.
According to the application form, the beneficiaries are supposed to identify preferred residential category and city. The preferred residential category includes high-density (up to 300m²), medium density stands (400m² to 800m²) and low density (800m² to 900m²).
The beneficiaries have also been given an option to own walk-up flats under the scheme.