Source: Govt walks the talk on housing . . . delivers 220 units in Beitbridge . . . move to boost efficiency at border | The Herald
Thupeyo Muleya-Beitbridge Bureau
The 220 houses and flats in Beitbridge Government village for staff assigned to the border post were handed over yesterday in a development welcomed by the staff who will live in them, the community and border agencies.
The staff village was built through a partnership between the Government and the Zimborders Consortium, which is transforming the port of entry at a cost of US$300million.
Housing development, an animal plant and quarantine facility, a new fire station, a new sewer oxidation dam, a new water reservoir with a carrying capacity of 11,4 megalitres are part of the out-of-port works under the transformation, along with the in-post work of expansion and rebuilding to cope with the travelling public and allow vehicles and pedestrians through the post quickly.
Most of the projects have been completed, while Zimborders is expected to wrap up the whole project in June.
The consortium handed over the housing units to the Government yesterday and the facility will fall under the administration of the Ministry of Public Works and Local Government.
In the last decade, inefficiency issues had been mainly attributed to the shortage of accommodation for staff assigned to Government agencies. As a result, most critical departments had to work with a lean staff.
“We are applauding the Government on the housing project which will ensure that we have adequate manpower to man the newlook border post,” said Regional Immigration officer-in-charge of Beitbridge, Mr Joshua Chibundu.
“You will note that, a decently accommodated official is bound to work efficiently and effectively as opposed to one who doesn’t have decent accommodation.”
Before the construction of the village, some immigration officers shared accommodation, a situation that deprived them of privacy.
The new housing will go a long way in alleviating the perennial accommodation crisis, and has allowed the immigration chief to request more staff to meet the needs of the expanding traffic.
The transformed port of entry has brought relief to travellers because traditionally there would be long queues but this time around, there are no queues.
“In addition, these new houses will help us to better manage accommodation issues since we are going to be beefing up staff to match the upgraded border post,” said Mr Chibundu.
Beitbridge District Development Coordinator Mrs Sikhangezile Mafu-Moyo said the construction of more houses was a welcome development considering that those available were not enough for the workforce.
Some of the 220 houses built by the Government for Beitbridge Border Post employees that were handed over to Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo yesterday.
Some Government workers were sharing accommodation while others were paying high rentals in foreign currency.
The new houses, she said, enhance service delivery at the border post and across the district.
“This is a welcome development and we are grateful that the Government is moving with speed to address some service delivery challenges,” said Mrs Mafu-Moyo.
“In some instances, some Government department and agencies were not able to deploy full strength staff to the border because of serious housing shortages. Such a scenario had adverse effects on service delivery in our district,” she said.
Another civil servant deployed to the border, Miss Tendai Mlambo, said most Government workers will be relieved and focused to deliver as expected.
She said in some instances, the border workers found themselves in compromised situations on and off duty when serving their landlords.
Miss Mlambo said the building of more houses had restored the dignity of civil servants in Beitbridge.
“Previously, some border agencies would be serving their landlords at the port of entry thereby compromising professionalism. This town is largely a rand economy and most civil servants were struggling with rentals, but the completion of these 220 houses will serve as a cost cutting measure for many of us,” she said.
Matabeleland South’s Chief Vehicles Inspector, Mr Norman Mtetwa said accommodation challenges had been a serious challenge for most Government departments.
The availing of more housing units, he said, was a motivation factor for border agencies.
“We appreciate the works of the Second Republic. This is a milestone achievement and a huge motivation factor that will enhance efficiency systems and service delivery,” he said.
Beitbridge Mayor, Councillor Munyaradzi Chitsunge, commended the Government for uplifting the face of the border town. The new staff village was an important infrastructure development project that fits into the local authority’s transformation drive
Clr Chitsunge said all they were grateful for was the enhanced service delivery capacity and that they were now able to address water, sewer and waste management following the completion of a 11,4 mega litres reservoir and a new sewer oxidation dam.
“The border modernisation project has changed the face of Beitbridge and we are now able to provide other critical services. We now have a new fire station, houses for Government workers, a new water reservoir and a new look border post which have changed the face of our town,” said the mayor.
Zimborders Consortium’s general manager, Mr Nqobile Ncube said civil works on the housing section were completed three months ahead of the schedule.
He said the housing development section had 20 detached houses for heads of departments with three bedrooms; 20 other three-bedroom semi-detached houses; and 180 two-bedroomed flats for junior staff.
The houses were built in the form of a gated complex with its own independent sewer system comprising of a bio-digester.
In addition, the housing complex has a clubhouse with a swimming pool, braai area and numerous playing areas for children.