About 80 houses constructed by Anjin Investments, a Chinese diamond mining company operating in Chiadzwa, have been badly damaged by gusts of wind that hit the eastern border settlement on Sunday.
The damage, which apparently destroyed most structures built by Anjin, has sparked uproar from beneficiaries of the resettlement project and civil society who blame the Chinese company for building sub-standard structures.
Anjin Investment is mining diamonds in partnership with the Zimbabwe National Army.
The Kimberley Process local focal point person Shamiso Mtisi yesterday lambasted the project, saying it was evident the Chinese were only interested in milking resources without genuinely ploughing back into the community.
“It is also an indictment on our housing standard and planning laws that are not being complied with by the Chinese and by corrupt government officials in Mutare at the District Aministrator level and provincial government level,” Mtisi said.
The now desperate villagers told NewsDay that wind damaged roofs, destroying asbestos sheets by what they described as substandard imported Chinese nails.
“The type of nails used here are not the usual nails that we know for the purposes of roofing. The construction of these houses was done haphazardly and nothing was done to ensure that we are safe here,” said an angry villager, Ketty Manyere.
When NewsDay visited the Arda Transal yesterday, relocated villagers were busy moving property into undamaged rooms as they waited for builders to attend to their homes.
The angry community called upon the relevant authorities to set basic standards which should be met by constructors in Arda Transal for their safety.
Efforts to get a comment from Anjin officials based at Arda Transal proved fruitless after this reporter was barred from interviewing the top official, only identified as Mr Peng.
All questions were referred to a Major Tarumbwa whose whereabouts could not be established.
MP for Mutasa South constituency Misheck Kagurabadza who also visited the area, expressed concern over the matter.
“I was surprised by the material used by the company (to build the houses) especially that we have plenty of companies with good quality building materials operating here in Zimbabwe. I have inspected the houses and was shocked to see that some of them have developed cracks even before a year after construction.”