Harare, 7 January 2008 – The Department of the Surveyor-General has been heavily understaffed with only three registered land surveyors, out of an establishment of 23. Acting Surveyor-General Mr Edwin Guvaza said in an interview that the staffing levels in the department were worrying.
He said out of the establishment of 23, the department had 10 surveyors, of which three were registered professionals and seven were land surveyors under training. The lack of registered surveyors is impacting negatively on the Government’s thrust to give 99-year leases to new farmers, as their farms need to be surveyed. “The situation is pathetic,” he said.
“We are recruiting land surveyors, but three or four months after recruitment, they leave for greener pastures. The major reason why the department is failing to retain staff is low salaries. Presently, the department has only three registered land surveyors. I am one of them. A few months ago there were only two of us. However, a third has since been registered. The other seven are unregistered.”
He added that like other Government departments, his department was also short of staff. “Most of our registered surveyors are going abroad, especially to South Africa. With the 2010 World Cup coming there, there appears to be a lot of opportunities for land surveyors,” said Mr Guvaza.
He, however, said the department would continue to recruit professionals to boost its ranks and to that end, it had awarded certificates to six land surveyors in training out of the 17 who sat for the Land Law Examination last year. The examination, he said, was compulsory and candidates who pass it obtain certificates, which they then use to be registered with the Council of Land Surveyors.
Parliament recently approved proposals to amend the Land Survey Act to broaden the catchment area of land surveyors from University of Zimbabwe graduates to other institutions of higher learning such as Midlands State University.
The shortage of registered land surveyors has affected the land redistribution programme as the few professionals were failing to cope with the mammoth task of surveying thousands of farms earmarked for resettlement.
Mr Guvaza’s department is responsible for surveying and drawing maps for farms, before the new landowners can be issued with 99-year leases. Recent reports say that there are more than 15 000 farms that need to be surveyed.