NORTON farmer Peter Neil, who won a Constitutional Court case against 1 500 settlers last week, is demanding $7 000 each from the latter for a stand measuring 200 square metres, it has been learnt.
Over the weekend, Mashonaland West provincial minister Faber Chidarikire together with officials from the provincial and district administrators’ offices convened a meeting with Neil and the settlers where the instalments were announced.
The stands were to be paid for over a period of 30 months.
“I have just paid the $730 (deposit) required by the land owner
today (yesterday). We now look forward to proper servicing of the stands and hope all the fighting we have had is now water under the bridge,” Lameck Ndebele, a retired soldier said.
Another settler who requested anonymity weighed in: “We were given the option of paying $230 now and $500 by month end and I am optimistic I would have raised that amount by end of the month.”
Others, however, felt they would not be able to pay for the stands as they were unemployed.
“Most of the residents here are not employed and survive on self-help projects like moulding bricks. How do you expect such poor people to afford that kind of money which many professionals are not even earning?” Portia Chabata, a voluntary healthcare giver at the settlement said.
Contacted for comment, Neil’s lawyer Cuthbert Mpame declined to give his client’s side of the story.
“At this juncture we would rather not comment. Check with me on Friday,” he said.
Efforts to get comment from Neil were unsuccessful as his mobile number was not reachable.
Local Government, Public Works and National Housing minister Ignatius Chombo, however, told the State media that an all stakeholders’ meeting would be convened next week to deal with the matter.
Chombo reportedly expressed concern at the settlers’ plight, saying it would be heartless for anyone to evict them within a 30-day period as directed by the court, more so during this rainy season.