AT least 100 Gwanda vendors face eviction after Rural Affairs minister Abedinico Ncube, wrote to the municipality applying for the land occupied by small-scale traders in the town’s central business district.
Latest minutes of the council’s environmental and management works committee indicate that Ncube’s two sons, Leslie and Justice, were allegedly arbitrarily given stands in Gwanda town’s upmarket Jacaranda low-density suburb, without appearing on the housing waiting list.
The minister’s sons were allegedly sold stands worth $10 275,80 and $13 025 by the local authority, although they had not applied for the land.
Ncube is said to be interested in the stand opposite Coolland Supermarket along Soudan Street, which shelters scores of vendors.
But, Gwanda mayor, Knowledge Ndlovu yesterday said there was nothing sinister about Ncube getting a piece of land in the town, as everyone was free to do so.
“I have not yet seen the application. If someone makes an application for land it goes through various committees before it is brought to the council for debate and I believe if the minister applied, I will see the application when it will be brought for discussion during full council meeting,” he said.
“However, there is nothing sinister if the minister applied for the land, everyone is free to do so,” he said, adding the land targeted by Ncube was not officially allocated for vending.
“We do not consider whether one is a minister or not, if the land he is applying for is not suitable for the business he wants to do or is occupied the council cannot approve it but if its free the council can approve the application,” Ndlovu said.
According to council minutes, the minister’s request will be submitted for consideration despite the engineering department insisting that no stands are currently available in central Gwanda.
“As per his letter dated December 30, 2016, Ncube wrote to council applying for a commercial stand in the CBD.
He further stated he would be happy if the stand was in the region of 600m² so that it can accommodate his business plans,” council documents read.