By Staff Reporter
WHITECLIFF residents, who illegally took possession of land belonging to a property developer over a decade ago, are now pleading with government to pay the company the agreed fee to avoid having their structures demolished.
The residents were settled on land owned by Eddies Pfugari Properties (Pfugari) over a decade ago with government’s blessing.
Pfugari then obtained a High Court over to evict them in 2017, but government moved in and pledged to compensate the company for lost land in a deal which would avert the evictions.
However, the ministry of Local Government, responsible for the issue, has not honoured its end of the bargain, resulting in the company writing to the police through its lawyers seeking escort for the deputy sheriff to evict them.
Vice President Constantino Chiwenga promised the electorate in Whitecliff that government will compensate the landowner amid cheers and ululations.
“We are going to negotiate with the owners of the land and no one is going to be evicted; government will compensate Pfugari Properties,” said Chiwenga.
However, recent events show that government has negated and reneged on it’s promise and Whitecliff residents find themselves facing imminent eviction.
Local councillor Luckson Maronga said residents are looking up to the government to honour it’s commitment and save people from being evicted.
“There might be a misunderstanding between government and Pfugari Properties. Government is the one which is negotiating on behalf of the people. As local leadership, we can not blame Pfugari because it’s their land. There is no land for free in Zimbabwe. Government is the one which settled people here, so Pfugari is right to say the authorities should bill their people. “Some of the people have already built properties; they want to safeguard their assets. People are ready to pay but Pfugari is saying government is the one which settled people here and should collect money from the people,” he said.
Seventy- one year Maxwell Goche said the uncertainty surrounding his stay in the area is making him sick as he has no other place to call home.
“We are living in constant fear. Government should honour it’s promises and put this case to rest. We live in constant fear of being evicted and the depression is making me sick,” he said.
Goche is one of the people who were settled by government in 2005 through the Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle program.
Another resident, 45-year-old Charity Mudzi said: “All we want is to live in peace and without fear of eviction. The government must just pay the company. We can then negotiate terms of payment with the government because the time frames and figures required by the company will be too much for us.”