BY REX MPHISA
THE Beitbridge Municipality has warned owners of idle commercial stands to develop or risk losing them.
Several stands on prime land in the border town remain undeveloped and stakeholders believe allocations were not done on merit.
In a notice dated February 9 2021, the municipality said it was concerned about residents who bought land, but were not developing it.
“This notice serves to once more remind developers offered stands in the central business district (CBD) of Beitbridge town to develop their stands. The CBD is the heartbeat and image of the municipality,” part of the notice read.
The municipality wrote to developers, reminding them of the need to develop, but only a few responded.
“We are now coming to a stage of repossessing stands and allocate them to capable developers,” the notice added.
The municipality said a notice of withdrawal would be flighted in newspapers. The municipality said until the withdrawal, undeveloped stands would attract stiff penalties.
The notice has, however, been met with mixed reactions from the Beitbridge community, which alleges that most stand allocations were not done on merit.
“Several undeserving people got land, some by virtue of having connections within council or at high offices,” a businessman with properties in the border town claimed.
“All my properties are on land I bought from individuals at higher prices. I have never been allocated land or invited for an interview for such despite my applications,” the businessman said.
Another businessman said he bought his stand from a council official at more than what the local authority sold it for.
“One council official has several stands they allocated themselves. One in the industrial site was divided into three and sold to three businessmen,” he said.
An investigation by NewsDay revealed that some council officials own several residential stands in the medium and low -density suburbs.
Some of the undeveloped stands under spotlight belong to Econet Wireless, Group Five Contractors, the People’s Own Savings Bank, Small Enterprise Development Corporation and several other big organisations.
Others, however, belong to local businessmen and some council officials who allocated themselves land for speculative purposes.
Late last year, the Local Government ministry launched an investigation into the conduct of council officials.
The ministry officials visited sites where a council official erected unapproved buildings and put up permanent structures on leased land.
Town clerk Loud Ramakgapola said he was not at liberty to discuss stands belonging to clients.
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