COUNCILLORS in Chiredzi have begun the process of cancelling an agreement with land developer Full Life Open Arms Africa Investments (FLOAAI), accusing the company linked to minister of Local Government July Moyo of breaching a contract signed in 2018.
This development comes only two weeks after residents approached the High Court in a bid to stop the developer from selling un-serviced stands at Buffalo Range Extension which is near Croco Motors along the Ngundu-Tanganda highway.
With the influence of senior government officials, FLOAAI was given the mandate to develop 750 hectares of Buffalo Range on behalf of a joint venture between Chiredzi Town Council and Chiredzi Rural District Council.
The land is for Chiredzi town expansion and the contractor was supposed to develop the area before handing it back to the local authorities.
Chiredzi Rural District Council acting chairperson Leornard Makondo told The NewsHawks that his local authority is now initiating a process to formally cancel an agreement they entered with FLOAAI in 2018.
He said a technical services committee met on Tuesday and resolved to immediately cancel the agreement, citing breach of contract on the side of the developer.
“We are aware that there is a High Court case against this developer but as council we started a process to formally cancel our contract with the developer. According to our agreement, the developer was supposed to develop 750 hectares, that is providing all needed services and roads, and hand the developed area back to council. This is now not the case as the developer is already selling un-serviced stands and this, accordingly, is a breach of the Local Authorities Act, as well as our contract with him, so we have to cancel it.”
“A technical services committee met on Tuesday and moved a motion to cancel the deal. We are holding a full council meeting on Friday where this will definitely be accepted,” said Makondo.
A councillor who heads a critical committee at Chiredzi Town Council said they had discussions as policymakers and agreed to take joint action with their fellow policymakers from Chiredzi Rural since the issue involves both local authorities.
He said they will copy what is being done by councillors from the rural local authority.
“We agreed verbally as councillors to cancel the deal, citing failure to fulfil what we agreed in 2018. We will be guided by activities being done by our brothers from rural local authority and we will follow suit. The case is between the courts and we are cited as respondents, but we instructed out lawyers not to respond but we will go there as witnesses to what is happening. We cannot defend things which are bad. This developer is a fraudster who should be pushed away from Chiredzi despite his links to government officials,” said the councillor.
Emmanuel Matimba, a resident who is an applicant in an interdict to stop the activities of FLOAAI, told The NewsHawks that FLOAAI responded to the application filed by residents at the Masvingo High Court while the two local authorities ignored.
He said they are waiting to be furnished with a court date so that the case is heard before a judge. Member of Parliament for Chiredzi West Farai Musikavanhu said despite being in the campaign period his party Zanu PF, which does not condone corruption, should not allow developers to rob people their hard-earned cash in Chiredzi.
He said Chiredzi town, which is a declared cholera zone, is already facing water shortages due to a ballooning population figure hence allowing FLOAAI to sell stands without services like water will worsen the crisis.
“The terms of reference under which the developer was employed must be put under the microscope as this could turn out to be one of those land baron deals where poor residents are robbed of their hard-earned money while being exposed to pyramid schemes run by briefcase operators with no bank balances to support the undertaking of such a massive project”
“Yes, we are in a campaign period, but our culture in Zanu PF is to put the interests of the people first and protect them from wolves that may present themselves in sheep skins. This project is a classical example where we must walk the talk of the ‘zero tolerance to corruption’ mantra by President Mnangagwa” said Musikavanhu