BY JAIROS SAUNYAMA
Marondera Municipality has reportedly surrendered a 150 hectare piece of land to a local company in exchange for a grader and a fuel pump to be constructed at the local authority’s workshop, among other things.
The deal came to light after council flighted a picture of the grader on residents’ social media groups, resulting in ratepayers disputing the price of the earhtmoving machine.
MDC Alliance councillor Sizemark Vilela, who was recalled recently, said the grader was part of machines secured by council after it offered land to a local company.
“It was in 2019 after discovering that council did not have the capacity to hire equipment for road maintenance. Due to corruption on tender procedures and realising that hiring was expensive for council, we had to come up with the idea of having our own equipment,” Vikela said.
“We had no money to purchase them, but we had land at Hunyani Timberlands. We agreed to sell almost 150ha from the 1 600ha that we had as council. We did not want to sell land for money because we knew the financial challenges at council, hence the idea of exchanging land with equipment.”
Vilela added that tenders were flighted with Mega Market company coming out tops and that the relevant ministry was privy to the deal.
Marondera mayor Simbarashe Nyahuye confirmed the deal, saying more machines will be delivered soon.
“That is true (buying machines with land) and we are still waiting for other equipment to arrive so that we can give you full update. We are yet to receive tippers, front-end loaders, excavators, motorbikes, vehicles for middle management and an ambulance. A kombi for councillors and a seven-tonne lorry has since been delivered to council,” he said.
The Hunyani Timberlands land had always been targeted by residents for residential purposes following a 2015 Elmswood land scandal that saw homeseekers losing money to council for stands that were never delivered.
Few years ago, residents invaded the Hunyani land, along Harare-Mutare Highway, but were later evicted by police.
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