Saturday, 21 August 2021


CASH-strapped Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has resolved to increase perks for its senior staffers which will see them get free accommodation, water, electricity and telephone services.

The local authority is also making provisions to construct pool houses in the eastern suburbs that will be used by top officials, in what they say is meant to help retain critical skills. According to a council confidential report, this strategy is part of a new policy for allocation of residential stands and social houses to individual beneficiaries. The report reveals that at present only three senior officials were renting properties that belonged to the local authority.

“The majority of local authorities in the country provide its senior staff free accommodation, water, electricity and telephone line. The scheme is to be used to attract and retain skilled high calibre staff in local authorities. In view of this, all senior staff from grade 13 and upwards should be provided with free council accommodation, water, electricity and telephone services subject to availability. The accommodation is to benefit the staff while they are still in full employment of council,” reads the report.

The local authority also decided that in the event that requisite accommodation is not available council will build pool houses in the city’s eastern areas on properties approved by the local authority. To further add on to the perks of council employees, full time employees can now purchase residential stands anywhere in the city for a 40 percent discount, with the payment being payable for a period of five years.

“The staff member should be a full council employee having served for a continuous minimum period of two years. Twenty percent of the available stands at any given scheme should be allocated to staff. Purchase price of the stand shall be discounted by 40 percent. The payment period shall be a minimum of five years. The benefit to be a once off benefit for all grades.

The executive group to benefit once off for a residential stand averaging an acre at 40 percent discounted purchase price payable over a maximum period of five years,” reads the report.

Further, according to this new policy, general beneficiaries of residential stands at Cowdray Park Hlalani Kuhle are now set to lose their stands if they go for a period of two years without any notable development taking  place.

“Housing officer shall issue out written notices on non-complaint stands that remain undeveloped for a period exceeding two years and state the nature of breaches.

“A report shall be submitted to council seeking for authority to repossess affected stands.

“Once granted the housing office shall communicate the council resolution in writing to the affected beneficiaries. Affected beneficiaries shall be given a right to re-offer for the stands should they be still interested through an offer letter stipulating the terms  and conditions of the new offer,” reads the report.

The objectives of the policy are mainly to engender transparency in the allocation of stands, houses and other premises, elimination of corruption emanating from the allocation of properties and to assist the local authority in the administration and management of stands, houses and other related resources, council said.“A general survey carried out in Harare City Council, Kadoma City Council, Masvingo City Council and Mutare City Council has revealed that there is no standard system being followed on allocation of houses and stands in most urban local authorities. This has resulted in many problems on allocation of stands and houses as outsiders viewed whatever practice in place as being fair.

“A number of senior officials responsible for these allocations have been either suspended or even dismissed from their work on allegations of corruption in the allocation of these scarce resources,” reads the report.

The latest revelation, however, comes at a time when council is struggling to provide some of the basic services to residents. Council has failed to avail stands to more than 3 000 beneficiaries in different suburbs although they received full payment.

Council is also struggling to repair water and sewer infrastructure resulting in constant bursts, which at one time resulted in contaminated drinking water leading to an outbreak of diarrhoea which killed 13 residents in Luveve. Sunday News


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