BY VANESSA GUZHA
AT least 100 people were arrested and later released yesterday following violent clashes between two groups fighting over control of land they grabbed from a property developer in Whitecliff, Harare.
Trouble started when the instigating group went around attempting to evict people from their houses claiming ownership of the land.
However, NewsDay established that the land belongs to property developer, Eddies Pfugari Properties, which the residents illegally occupied 10 years ago.
It also emerged that the company had obtained a High Court order to evict the invaders. Eddies Pfugari Properties said they were not involved in yesterday’s scuffle as it was negotiating with government to settle the issue amicably.
One of the residents who refused to be named told NewsDay that the chaos was caused by one Shepherd Mushati who was illegally selling stands on land belonging to Eddies Pfugari Properties
“I bought my stand from Pfugari and so did other residents who are currently living in this area,” he said.
However, some of the residents said they invaded Pfugari’s land and were currently negotiating with the land developer to regularise their stay.
“Some have already built houses, but other stands are still vacant,” he continued.
“Yesterday, a group of people came to our area claiming to own our stands and they were evicting us with immediate effect, we all refused, leading to chaotic scenes,” he said.
“During the chaos, it was then revealed that a man named Mushati had sold our stands to them and he had given them the go-ahead to claim the stands. Shortly, police intervened and 100 people were arrested.”
Owen Maronga, who is a councillor for the area, said: “One hundred people were arrested and I managed to negotiate with the police to release them.” He added: “I am still discussing some issues with the police.”
An Eddies Pfugari Properties official said the company was not in a position to comment on the matter since they were waiting for the conclusion of deliberations with government.
“We are not in any way involved in the chaos that happened and so we cannot comment,” the official said