—-Government has sold Zambia Forestry and Forest Industries Corporation (ZAFFICO) houses to sitting tenants in all Forest Reserves occupied by its members of staff.
Minister of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, Wylber Simusa, made the announcement at ZAFFICO’s Dora Hill stadium when he addressed sitting tenants in Ndola today.
Mr Simusa said it was government’s desire that people lead decent lives through provision of shelter.
Mr imusa explained that ZAFFICO houses are located in forest reserves and were intended to be occupied by workers in the forest department and ZAFFICO.
He said it was against this background that it had taken long for government to make a decision on the sale of the housing units under ZAFFICO.
Mr Simusa said a lot of consultations were done by government and other stakeholders on how best the issue of the sale of housing units needed to be done.
“I should confess that it was difficult to decide because as government, the interest of people is paramount on the one hand, and on the other hand the continued existence of ZAFFICO and its contribution to the economy of the country by providing jobs cannot be overemphasized,” Mr Simusa said.
The minister, however, told the joyous gathering that areas where the houses are located will remain forest reserves and that all beneficiaries shall adhere to the conditions of occupying land in forest reserves as prescribed under the Forests Act Chapter 199 of the Laws of Zambia.
He said sitting tenants shall not make any changes to the structures, sale or dispose of the houses without prior permission from ZAFFICO management.
He further said tenants will not, without lawful authority, occupy or cultivate any land without seeking approval from the Forestry Department.
Mr Simusa added that it shall be the duty of tenants to pay for water and electricity bills which were currently being settled by ZAFFICO.
And giving a vote of thanks on behalf of the tenants Evaristo Mwanalino thanked government for looking into their plight and pledged that all sitting tenants will adhere to the prescribed Forest Act.