Chivhu home seekers up-in-arms as council demands US$1 000 as top up

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By Mashonaland East Correspondent

OVER 500 cash-strapped home seekers in the small agricultural town of Chivhu, have been left fuming after the local council ordered them to pay an additional US$1 000 each for their undeveloped housing stands.

In letters, to residents last month, the Chikomba Rural District Council said all home seekers with undeveloped residential stands were supposed to pay an additional US$1 000 each.

This is despite the home seekers having paid US4 500 each for the stands in 2015.

“As you are aware that (your) stand was due for repossession and an advertisement was placed notifying you of the council’s intention,” a letter written by the local council to one of the residents reads in part.

“However, you have indicated that you still have interest to develop the stand.  Your plea was accepted subject to you fulfilling the following reallocation conditions: Payment of a stand reallocation fee of US$1 000 by the 30th of May 2019, signing lease forms by 30th of June, fully developing the approved house by 30th of March 2025.”

The local council has threatened to repossess the residential stands if it feels a resident has failed to meet the required agreements.

“Failure to comply with these conditions, council shall repossess the stand without further notice.  You are further advised to pay for the monthly supplementary charges to enable council to continuously service the area.”

The housing stands in dispute are in Buckenhill and Northwood suburbs.

However, the affected residents feel the move by the local council is illegal and it wants to use fraudulent methods to extort money from them.

“When I bought my stand in 2015, I was asked to pay US$4 500 in full for the land, which I did.  I am now shocked that the same council is asking me to pay another US$1 000.  That is illegal and I will engage lawyers to stop this madness,” one affected resident, Ishmael Kembo, said.

He said if he would need more than RTGS4 000 in order to buy the required US$1 000 on the black market.

Also set to be repossessed by the local council are 70 undeveloped industrial stands in the town.