A FRESH land wrangle has erupted in Zvimba Rural District Council (RDC) – after a private property developer took the local authority to court demanding $4 million from a botched deal.
BY XOLISANI NCUBE
In court papers filed with the High Court, Divine Aid Trust Company (Datco) claims the rural municipality double allocated a portion of land, in which the company has a partnership with the local authority, to another developer in breach of an existing contract.
Datco alleges, notwithstanding the existence of the partnership agreement to develop 429 hectares of land for residential purposes, council breached the agreement and gave Blackdawn Land Developers part of the piece of land without cancelling the subsisting contract.
“Pursuant to the agreement, plaintiff carried out the necessary topographical surveys, prepared the necessary designs, plans and successfully applied for change of land use for the property in question from agriculture to commercial residential stands,” part of the court papers read.
The court papers also state: “In breach of the terms and conditions of the agreement where the plaintiff was partnered as the sole developer of the land, the defendant (Zvimba RDC) allocated the land covered by phase 2 of the project to another developer named Blackdawn Land Developers.”
Datco argues that because of the breach of the agreement, it was now impossible to carry out physical works at the project such as road construction and sewer reticulation.
“The plaintiff, therefore, suffered damages as a consequence of defendant’s (Zvimba RDC) breach of the contract in the sum of $4 757 429,37, being the loss of income from its share of stands in phase 2 of the project,” Datco stated.
The local authority is yet to respond to Datco’s litigation.
However, the rural council has already issued public statements suggesting that it has severed ties with Datco and the property developer should not be allowed to sell any stand to anyone
The private developer’s litigation came as a probe team set up by the Rural Development ministry into Zvimba found that all was not well as private land developers were abusing council procedures for personal gain.
The team, appointed by Rural Development minister Abednico Ncube, found the council coming short in terms of monitoring of its projects.