Core Mining director Lovemore Kurotwi tried to take control of the Chimanimani Hotsprings for
$1 million, it emerged on Sunday.
Word doing the rounds in Chimanimani is that the businessman, facing charges of fraud and criminal abuse of office after allegedly misrepresenting to Mines minister Obert Mpofu on the capacity of his company resulting in the government approving a joint venture between Core Mining and Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) to extract the Marange diamonds, had acquired the Hotsprings for $60 000.
The development had angered many people who believe that as part of the national heritage, they should not be sold to an individual as they are meant to benefit the entire community.
Chimanimani Rural District Council chief executive officer Timothy Marango confirmed Kurotwi’s interest in the Hotsprings, but said the deal fell after the businessman failed to honour his part of the bargain.
The hot springs, in Nyanyadzi, are a tourist attraction and natural wonder along the Mutare-Masvingo highway, about 20km from Birchenough Bridge and 120km from Mutare.
The Hotsprings have water that is almost at boiling point, and is associated with many myths including the belief that if one washes their face with the water it cures skin diseases and clears wrinkles.
Others believe that touching the water brings good luck, while traditionalists say the springs are sacred.
“He, through his company RAE, sent proposals for a partnership where he was going to invest $1 million. The partnership was that he would get 70% of the proceeds and us 30%, but the partnership never got to fruition because he did not honour his part of the bargain,” said Marango.
“There was an agreement because the council accepted the proposal in September last year, but nothing has materialised.”
He said the money was going to be used to build houses and chalets at Hotprings Resort to accommodate tourists.
Asked about the $60 000 which the council had received, Marango said the money was paid by Canadile Miners as a service charge for land where they wanted to build a private school, clinic and houses.
Canadile Miners was formed when Core Mining and ZMDC formed a joint venture to extract diamonds in Marange.