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THE government has promised to provide residential stands to legislators in various cities and towns in a bid to ease the accommodation crisis facing the lawmakers, Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere has said.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
Responding to questions from MDC-T senator for Matabeleland South Sithembile Mlotshwa, Kasukuwere said already some MPs who would have indicated that they wanted stands outside Harare have their papers being processed by local authorities and his ministry’s officials.
“I want to thank you very much, Honourable Senator, we have not denied making sure that our members of Parliament have serviced land, if anything, we are currently going through the process of making sure that land is available, serviced residential stands to a number of our senators and members of the National Assembly,” the minister stated.
“Particularly those in cities which are not preferred by the majority, for example, Bulawayo, Gweru and Marondera, we have already made strides in terms of accommodating individual interests of our MPs. It is only in Harare where, because of limited serviced land, we have not been able to progress in the manner that we would have expected.”
He said his ministry was in the process of pooling resources alongside the civil service housing scheme so that they could accommodate the legislators.
The minister said the legislators drawn from the Senate and the National Assembly would be treated in the same way the government was treating its workers and in Harare where it has set aside land in Chishawasha for the residential stands.
“We are aware that some of our Senators and members of the National Assembly are owed some money and it is in that context that when we discussed with Honourable minister [Patrick] Chinamasa and two Chief Whips from the two political formations, we agreed that there could be a process of netting off what Members of Parliament are owed by government,” he said.
Asked by Bulawayo Senator Tholakele Khumalo on when the allocation would begin, the minister said already some members were benefiting.
“Like I have said, some of the Members of Parliament who indicated interest to acquire residential stands in towns outside Harare have been contacted,” Kasukuwere said.
“I am sure that as you have raised it with me, I will also check with my office so that they get in touch with you because Bulawayo City has a lot of serviced land.
“For that reason, it has been easier for us to acquire land in these areas, including Marondera and others. I apologise to you Honourable Senator if you did not get that information. I am here and the Clerk of Parliament is also here, we will strive to facilitate. I thank you,” the minister said.
The government is also initiating residential stands for civil servants.