BY GARIKAI MAFIRAKUREVA
Home seekers in Chiredzi are up in arms with the debt-saddled Chiredzi Town Council after the local authority allegedly disregarded the waiting list and sold some available land on a first come, first served basis, fuelling emergence of land barons.
The council has been trying to extricate itself out of murky financial waters through the sale of medium-density residential stands.
Among its creditors are Tongaat Hullet which is owed $1,3 million for water supplies, as well as three months salary arrears to its workers.
According to the November 2018 health and housing committee report compiled by the director of housing and community services, Emily Paradzai, the housing department interviewed 857 potential home owners; but only 79 individuals managed to pay $623 637 for the stands that were being sold at $16 per square metre.
The Grain Marketing Board (GMB) paid in full $60 800 for six stands while Nyaradzo Group paid $146 475 for 10 stands with council raking in $830 912 from both individuals and corporates. The Tshovani Park medium-density residential stands were sold to individuals and companies at $16m² and $25m² respectively. But the United Chiredzi Residents and Ratepayers Association (UCHIRRA) and Chiredzi Residents and Ratepayers Association (CHIRRA) have queried why the land was priced differently and why they continue using local currency which is fast losing value. UCHIRRA has since written to Chiredzi Town Council demanding a resolution be made to charge the same rates for the medium-density stands. UCHIRRA secretary-general, Bernard Dachi said as residents they will continue to demand transparency and clarification on the matter.
“What it means is that the poor will die without owning any property because land barons are going to use proxies who are going to spend very little money to buy all the land for them which they will in turn sell at exorbitant prices.
“How can we have two prices on the same commodity? That is why we wrote to them demanding the resolutions they made, but up to now they are yet to respond. If they continue running council business like a tuckshop we will soon knock on their doors,” he said.
CHIRRA chairperson Jonathan Muusha also demanded transparency and accountability by town council.
Chiredzi town chairperson Gibson Hwende could not be reached for comment.