HARARE – Chitungwiza Municipality has come under fire from home seekers following failure to service more than 10 000 stands it allocated in 2007.
This comes after revelations that the land belongs to Goromonzi Rural District Council and will have to be acquired by the Lands ministry first and then transferred to the Local Government ministry before council can access the land.
The home seekers who paid council over $5 million for the stands across Nyatsime River south of the dormitory town five years ago cannot start construction before the process and have become frustrated with the delays.
Chitungwiza town clerk George Makunde confirmed the land belonged to the State and the home seekers would have to wait until council is officially given the land.
Makunde could not give a definite date by which the home seekers would be allowed to build on the stands saying it depended on the speed with which the Local Government ministry dealt with the transfer of ownership.
“In the absence of that process there is no way we can, as council, allow development of the stands to take place,” said Makunde.
“We have applied for the land to the minister (Ignatius Chombo) but we have not yet received a response. We will have to wait for that and it depends on how fast the process goes because we cannot push the minister but once we have the land people can start work,” said Makunde.
Nyatsime Housing Development Association secretary-general Kudakwashe Chipamawanga told the Daily News that they were unsure whether they would ever become home owners.
“When we were paying for the stands we thought we would soon begin working on our stands but now we are no longer certain about what the future holds because we hardly get any feedback from council.
“We have engaged government through the governor and he promised that he would expedite the process of transferring ownership of the land to council,” said Chipamawanga.
Acting Harare Metropolitan provincial governor and resident minister Alfred Tome told the home seekers that the $5 million they had paid to council had mysteriously disappeared from the municipality’s coffers.
He said this while addressing association members who had invited him to help clarify the matter.
“Our investigations have shown that the money you topped up on your stands at the start of the multi-currency regime in 2009 was abused. This probably took place before the coming of the new management at council,” said Tome.
“There is just about $40 000 left but we are in the process of correcting the anomaly.
“I can tell you that as government we were not aware that there were stands at Nyatsime and when we got to know, we realised the land did not belong to Chitungwiza.
“We have however, started the process of transferring the land ownership to the relevant ministry so servicing of the stands can commence,” said Tome.
He said government had found partners from Turkey keen to help with the development of the road and sewer system. – Mugove Tafirenyika