THE Construction Industry Pension Fund (CIPF) has spruced up its ZW$7 million Housing Scheme in Stoneridge, 20 km South East of Harare by planting Cyprus trees in commemoration of National Tree Planting Day.
CIPF Board of Trustees’ Chairperson Dr Israel Murefu said in his speech read by Mrs Mpofu, a Board member of CIPF, the event was in sync with Government’s quest to plant, care for and conserve trees in recognition of the importance of National Tree Planting Day which falls annually on the first Saturday of December.
Dr Murefu said the event also signifies the Fund’s commemoration of the successful completion of the ZW$7 million Housing Scheme which saw over 800 stand-owners, both the Fund’s members and non-members become proud home owners.
“The Stoneridge Housing Development is a huge milestone for the Fund which has not only fulfilled the government goal of housing for all but has changed the face of the suburb by adding order and value,” said Murefu.
He said the Fund planted the trees in recognition of the fact that the tree population at the Housing site was destroyed prior to CIPF acquiring the land due to the farming activities taking place then.
Murefu added that the Fund was aware that the approved development permit allowed for buffer zones which carry vegetation to sustain the environment and that the Housing development is exposed to wind due to the absence of trees or an alternative wind break.
The trees will give life as they give oxygen and ambience through beautifying the environment as well as help soil conservation through prevention of erosion.
“Over and above all this, CIPF wants to add value to this development as part of its policy on responsible investing in line with the SDGs. As CIPF we value the communities we work with and it is with pleasure that we give back to this community through this tree planting initiative,” said Murefu.
The tree planting event was very significant as it ensures sustainability in the management and utilisation of the forestry resources for the benefit of the communities and the nation at large.
Lack of knowledge by the communities has resulted in deforestation remaining the largest threat to the country’s tree population.
While this year’s national tree planting day is  Saturday 5 December 2020, the Fund commemorated on Friday 4 December 2020 to enable its stakeholders who graced the event to join tree planting activities in their different home communities.
Representatives from the Fund’s key stakeholders which include the Construction Industry Federation of Zimbabwe (CIFOZ); Zimbabwe Building Contractors Association (ZBCA); Zimbabwe Construction and Allied Trade Workers Union (ZCATWU); National Employment Council for the Construction Industry Zimbabwe (NECCIZ); CIPF Board Members; Forestry Commission;  residents of Stoneridge; CIPF CEO, Management and staff attended the event.
Murefu said the Fund chose the Cyprustrees because they have numerous desirable elements such as being an effective wind break as well as its ability to beautify the area with their lush green colour.
Cyprus trees have low maintenance and will grow naturally without much post planting care.
The Tree Planting event was scheduled to coincides with the onset of the rainy season so the rains would provide enough watering to give the plants a kick start for growing naturally.
“The Stoneridge Housing Development has been a pilot project which we look at with pride. I commend the residents for creating a beautiful palace out of it. It is my hope that you will continue to look after the trees we are planting today as they are now your trees within your community,” said Murefu.
He urged the residents to plant more trees within this community bearing in mind that trees are life adding that CIPF will continue to work closely with the residents in furthering development of the area.
The Housing Scheme kicked off in 2016 when the Fund acquired a 34.445 hectares piece of land in Stoneridge with the specific aim of building houses for its members. The Project had a total of 863 stands.
The scheme has seen 4-roomed and 5- roomed houses built and members becoming proud homeowners while 210 jobs on site and hundreds others created through related downstream activities.

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