By Staff Reporter
THOUSANDS of prospective home seekers in Marondera paid for non-existing residential stands to the local authority in 2014, it has emerged.
Local government minister July Moyo confirmed the development while answering questions from Marondera Central MP, Caston Matewu in the House of Assembly last week.
Matewu had asked the minister to explain when home-seekers in the town would be allocated residential stands which they paid for at Elmswood Farm.
Minister Moyo however, said the targeted land was out of the boundaries of Marondera town.
He also revealed that the land was part of Marondera Rural and, in fact, an A2 farm allocated to one Jani in 2000.
“Let me inform this august House that Elmswood Farm in Marondera District falls outside the gazetted boundaries of Marondera municipality or Marondera Central Constituency,” Moyo said.
In 2014, the then local government minister and Zanu PF national commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere urged Marondera residents to pay $1,500 each to the local authority for the residential stands.
The announcement was made as Zanu PF drummed up support for its candidate in a parliamentary by-election following the expulsion of then Marondera Central MP, Ray Kaukonde from the ruling party.
Thousands of residents paid the required $1,500, but four years later, no land allocation has been done.
Attempts to wrestle the land from Jani have also failed as the farmer has since approached the High Court seeking an order to stop government from repossessing his farm.
“The said occupier has resisted the survey of the stands,” explained minister Moyo last week.
“Furthermore, he has also taken this Ministry and the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement to court contesting the withdrawal of his offer letter.”
Matewu then suggested to Moyo that the government and local council to pay back the money it collected from the residents.
“Most residents paid US$1,500,” said Matewu.
“Are you going to give them their money back and when if this is not coming out as you had said to them?
However, Moyo said the only remedial action was to first repossess the farm from Jani and make it a rural state land.
“Once that has happened, we will now have to transform it from rural state land to urban State land,” he said.
“If we do that, it will give us the opportunity to do a survey. Meanwhile, the Minister of Local Government cannot receive that land and the local authority cannot do anything.”