Govt rescues Gwanda residents 9 years later

The beneficiaries had complained that they were being tossed from one office to the other by the Gwanda Municipality and the land developer.

GOVERNMENT has written to the Surveyor-General’s Office instructing it to survey stands at Judd Farm in Gwanda, Matabeleland South province, after beneficiaries struggled to develop the area for the past nine years.

At least 300 people bought residential stands at the farm from a Harare-based land developer, Forit Contracting (Pvt) Limited in 2015, but no significant progress has been made since then.

The beneficiaries had complained that they were being tossed from one office to the other by the Gwanda Municipality and the land developer.

However, government’s commitment to assist in breaking the logjam sparked some hope.

In a letter dated September 6, 2023 addressed to the Surveyor-General, chief director spatial planning and development in the Local Government and Public Works ministry, Shingirayi Mushamba advised that the Gwanda Municipality needed assistance in land surveying.

“Gwanda Municipality was allocated part of Judds Farm for urban development. A layout plan was subsequently prepared and approved and the details are shown in the subject line — (GE95 Judds Farm Gwanda — File reference GWA/TC/2/2 December 2005),” the letter partly read.

“This, therefore, is to request your support in the survey of the said property as per approved plan. Therefore, kindly support and facilitate the survey of the approved plan. Should there be any questions on the above matter; feel most welcome to contact undersigned.”

The letter was copied to the Local Government and Public Works ministry’s secretary, Gwanda town clerk, chief director valuations and estate management, committee secretary-lands allocation, the AFC Holdings and acting director urban State lands.

In interviews, beneficiaries expressed hope that the involvement of government would spur progress at last.

“This is giving us hope that something will be done soon,” said a resident who preferred anonymity.

Many of the prospective homeowners also expressed hope that the new Gwanda mayor Thulani Moyo will speed up the addressing of the set back on the issue of their stands.

In June this year, the beneficiaries petitioned then Matabeleland South Provincial Affairs and Devolution minister Abednigo Ncube over the delay by the company and council to service and hand over the stands to them.

In the petition dated June 24, 2023, the residents indicated that their case was urgent and needed immediate attention.

The residents noted that it was against this background that permission was sought to allow them to bypass the long-awaited servicing of land.

They also expressed concern that the developer has been evasive for too long to unveil their stands while there was little to no progress on site in the past nine years.

The homeseekers wrote several petitions and last year they also petitioned former mayor Njabulo Siziba.

They also indicated that on November 2, 2022, they wrote to the town clerk requesting a meeting to be updated on the issue.

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