By NQOBANI NDLOVU
BULAWAYO City Council (BCC) has resolved to build residential flats for its employees as part of its new housing policy.
The issue was revealed in recent council minutes which indicated that 77 council staff members were on the waiting list for council accommodation.
The accommodation policy will come at a time when council is failing to meet the demand for houses, with the housing backlog now exceeding 100 000.
“The total of all flats was 56. Furthermore, there had been an increase of demand for the council accommodation by staff due to high rentals that were even pegged in the elusive US dollar. The current waiting list stood at 77 as at November 30, 2020,” the council report said.
“Under the proposed flats policy, the criteria for council employees to be considered for staff accommodation include, among others, that one has to be registered in the flats waiting list, essential category or those who work odd hours, critical areas shortage staff, staff affected by peculiar circumstances like divorce, those who did not own houses in the city, staff who had been in council for not less than 10 years …”
The local authority owns a number of residential flats at Parthhurst, Tregene, Howard and Coles courts, among others.
In July 2006, council resolved to turn the residential flats into council staff accommodation, with non-council workers given up to January 2007 to vacate the premises.
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However, council documents show that a number of non-council employees are still residing at the premises at a time when the local authority is facing a high demand for staff accommodation.
Reports show that less than 30 000 housing stands have been availed in the past decade despite a growing number of people in need of houses.
Council once sought a partnership deal with the Local Government ministry for the construction of residential flats at the sprawling Cowdray Park and Emganwini high-density suburbs to ease the city’s housing backlog.
The BCC has also lifted the suspension on the sale of housing stands on pre-sell to prevent desperate home-seekers setting up illegal settlements.
Under the model, beneficiaries provide necessary funds for servicing of their stands after entering into a payment plan with the council in which an initial deposit of 25% to 35% is paid.
The balance is paid on final completion of servicing of the stands.
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