7 February 2013

Zimbabwe: Civil Servants' Housing Project On Course

Development of civil servants residential stands in Eastview, Harare, is at an advanced stage with the developer now servicing the site and constructing access roads. Over 650 teachers were last year allocated housing stands in the area located between Zimre Park and Arcturus Road. The scheme was initiated by the Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe as it complements Government efforts in uplifting the livelihoods of teachers.

The stands, being serviced and developed by the Zimbabwe Housing Development Trust, would be ready for construction soon.

Zanu-PF Secretary for Information and Publicity Rugare Gumbo is patron of the housing project and he is expected to visit the site on Saturday to monitor work in progress.

TUZ Harare provincial co-ordinator Mrs Loveness Svovanapasi yesterday said trenching and laying of sewer pipes would begin soon.

"Teachers were allocated stands last year in September and members physically inspected their stands. The developer is on site blasting stones and clearing the land for the opening of roads. It is our hope that this exercise will end by the end of March and we will start installing water and sewer pipes," she said.

She said the move would cushion educators who are earning salaries that are below the Poverty Datum Line while the housing allowances they are getting are not enough to pay for a room in Harare. Most teachers get a housing allowance of US$56 per month.

"It is a mammoth task for a teacher to get a house as the salaries are not enough to cover their day-to-day expenses. This is the opportunity to own a house at a low cost because teachers would make monthly contributions until they have the houses," she said.

The 600 and 800-square metre stands cost about US$3 200 each and the teachers will have US$60 deducted from their salaries every month. Most teachers are earning between US$300 and US$350.

Mrs Svovanapasi said with that amount the teachers would get decent accommodation.

She said Government was failing to offer non-monetary incentives to workers, hence the need for teachers to come up with such strategies.

"There are no non-monetary incentives coming our way from the employer with several ministerial committees being set up and achieving nothing. Faced with such a situation we have to take it upon ourselves to find ways that will see us getting decent accommodation. As a union we will stand by the workers until the houses are completed," she said.

TUZ was also behind the Ushewokunze Housing Project in Harare that saw hundreds of civil servants building houses. The scheme is expected to be extended to other teachers countrywide.

Zimbabwe is facing housing problems with over a million people estimated to be in need of accommodation.

TUZ has also launched a groceries and laptop programme aimed at keeping the teachers abreast with technology.

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