Residents in bid to stall sale of Chiredzi housing stands
RESIDENTS of Chiredzi have approached the High Court in a bid to stop the sale of un-serviced stands by Full Life Open Arms Investments (Pvt) Ltd (FLOAAI), a developer allegedly linked to Local Government minister July Moyo who was fraudulently given the mandate to develop 750 hectares meant for town expansion without going to tender.
FLOAAI, Chiredzi Town Council and Chiredzi Rural District Council are all cited as respondents in an application for interdict filed on 27 April 2023 at the Masvingo High Court and served on the respondents on 28 April. Applicants in the matter are Chiredzi Residents and Ratepayers Association (CHIRRA) and a resident, Emmanuel Matimba.
This comes at a time when FLOAAI is already selling stands to various groups of people through aspiring Zanu PF candidate for Chiredzi Central constituency Francis Moyo and aspiring councillors for the constituency who are collecting large sums of money despite the fact that the land which is opposite Ngundu — Tanganda Highway near Croco Motors known as Buffalo Range Extension — is yet to be developed and properly pegged. Moyo was Chiredzi Town Council chairperson when the land was released to FLOAAI in 2018.
In the court application seen by The NewsHawks, the applicants are seeking an order to stop the sale of unserviced stands as it breaches an agreement entered between the two local authorities and the developer since it is now selling stands in an area without roads, water and sewer reticulation which the parties agreed in 2018.
“Whilst the process leading to the appointment and/or selection of the first respondent as a successful unsolicited bidder remains unclear to members of first applicants, what has prompted the applicants to approach this honourable court is the fact that the first respondent is now selling stands although they are not serviced yet.
“The first applicant’s executives have visited the project in question for purposes of assessing whether the first respondent has now serviced the stands being sold or not and it was discovered that there are no roads, water reticulation and sewer systems on the project, meaning that no servicing has commenced,” reads part of the application made by the residents through Chadyiwa and Associates.
CHIRRA chairperson Jonathan Shonhiwa told The NewsHawks that his association decided to take a legal route after several calls to raise a red flag failed since it is now clear that senior politicians and government officials are continuing to protect the developer. He said it is sad to note that the country is always calling for institutions to stop corruption but on the other hand they are found masterminding deals which disadvantage the general people.
“Our councils had long lists of people waiting to get stands but our ministry is putting a blind eye on a deal which is going to benefit a land baron. We decided to take legal action after all our calls to stop this deal were continuously ignored by authorities and even anti-corruption watchdogs. This is a clear indicator of corruption being fueled by government officials. This developer is incapacitated, he is unable to develop 750h and we raised that before, but he is now selling the land to unsuspecting land seekers with all our councils befitting nothing. We are waiting for their responses since they have 10 days to file their opposition,” said Shonhiwa.
Chiredzi Rural District Council chief executive officer Ailes Baloyi confirmed that his local authority received court papers filed by residents regarding the Buffalo Range issue. He however said he cannot comment on issues already before the courts.
“As council we were seized with the matter and l can confirm that we received court papers last week and at this moment l cannot comment on the issues which are now before the courts,” said Baloyi.
Chiredzi Town Council acting secretary Wesley Kauma was not answering calls on his mobile phone when The NewsHawks called him several times. However, a senior executive within his council confirmed receiving court papers last Friday.
Chiredzi West member of Parliament Farai Musikavanhu said it is unfortunate that the only land left for town expansion in Chiredzi is now in the hands of people other than local authorities. He called for the involvement of all stakeholders in order to find a solution which can benefit the growth of the town in an orderly manner.
Zanu PF aspiring candidate for Chiredzi Central Francis Moyo told The NewsHawks that he is just using an opportunity to let some of the local residents to buy stands from FLOAAI after an arrangement he made with the company. He said he is just taking an advantage to campaign but everything which is being done is above board since the developer had blessings from the responsible ministry.
“I just brokered a deal in which residents are paying money for stands which they will get after an agreed fee. I am not pocketing the money but it is paid to the company. I just saw an opportunity since it is campaign period,” said Moyo.
A Chiredzi Town councillor told The NewsHawks that councillors within the two local authorities who are owners of the land through a joint venture signed in 2018 will call for a joint meeting to solve the issue since the developer is now breaching the agreement.
He said according to the agreement, the developer was supposed to develop the area first and council would pay him with developed stands.
He added that council is supposed to show him his land, but what is happening is the opposite since he is already selling without following the stipulated procedure.