Chinhoyi Municipality In A Fix Over US$17 Million Debt

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By James Muonwa, Mashonaland West Correspondent

RESTLESS Mapako and St Ives residents in Chinhoyi are demanding the expeditious conclusion of a land deal brokered between Chinhoyi Municipality and the Dilmitis family to enable them to get title deeds for their properties.

The property owners who bought housing stands from council following cessation of part of Dilmitis farm situated on the verges of the town, say they need title deeds which some want to use as collateral security to get loans.

The Dilmitis family is reportedly withholding the parent title deed until the broke local authority pays off US$17 million compensation.

However, the cash-strapped municipality has made a counter-claim against the landowner which it says owes it unpaid property taxes amounting close to US$10 million.

The debt swap deal has reportedly stalled full consummation of the change of property ownership.

In separate interviews with, property owners decried the protracted dispute between council and the landowner, which spilled into the courts and is denying them title deeds.

“The last time l attempted pursuing the process of getting title deeds, l was shunted from one office to another. I bought my stand 10 years ago but upto now l don’t have title deeds. I need title deeds to qualify for loans because loan sharks need collateral,” said one resident.

Chinhoyi Municipality spokesperson, Tichaona Mlauzi said the deal was being finalised, with lawyers for both parties expected to agree on a payment plan.

“As l speak now, our lawyers and Dilmitis’ lawyers are seized with the issue. Our parent ministry did some valuations of the cost of the land and improvements, including St Ives,” Mlauzi said.

“We are now seized with coming up with a payment plan and thereafter, if that one is settled, people will be afforded a chance of title.”

Efforts to get a comment from family representative, Manusi Dilmitis were fruitless at the time of publishing.

Mlauzi reiterated there was no need to raise alarm and despondency among stakeholders as a solution was being worked out, emphasising the stands were sold through cessation.

Cessation means that an owner or user of exempt real property has ceased to use the property for an exempt purpose as it was transferred, loaned, or rented to an owner that is not entitled to an exemption.

In the mean time, council is issuing cession confirmation letters.

Meanwhile, Mapako residents are up in arms against council after some of them received “unjustifiable” municipal bills in excess of $10 000.

The medium density suburb has no serviceable roads, no piped water, no street lights, while refuse is not being collected, irate residents say.