Chitungwiza Municipality is battling to reverse a deal in which an individual was allocated 36,8 hectares of public land to build houses, schools and shops in the town without any payment made to council, at a time thousands on council’s waiting list are struggling to acquire stands as small as 200 square metres.
In any case Chitungwiza limits land holdings to two residential and two commercial stands on public land.
Businessman Mr Chenjerai Tarcious Madamombe was allocated 8ha in Nyatsime Phase 1 and 2 to build a primary and secondary school, another 18,55ha for residential and commercial development at Dunotar Farm in the Nyatsime area and 17 residential and commercial stands in Seke South totalling 9,83ha.
The land deal was struck years ago during the tenure of ex-Chitungwiza housing director Ms Jemina Gumbo who signed a deed of settlement without the legally required council resolution, without any payment and without Mr Madamombe even applying for the stands. Council sought to nullify the leases after realising that the proper procedures and approval had not been given but Mr Madamombe contested the nullification in court.
While the matter was still in court, Ms Gumbo reportedly went further and signed a deed of settlement, surrendering the whole 36,8ha to Mr Madamombe.
Chitungwiza Municipality recently approached the High Court seeking an order nullifying this deed of settlement signed by Ms Gumbo with the local authority through lawyers Matsikidze Attorneys at Law desperately battling to have the land deal cancelled.
They argue that the settlement was signed contrary to both public policy and the laws of Zimbabwe in that it leased large and extensive pieces of land as stated in the deed of settlement, to an individual. The council noted that Chitungwiza’s housing procedure does not allow an individual to own more than two residential and two commercial properties on public land, with all land in the municipality being public land until buyers finally obtain their title deeds.
Not only did Ms Gumbo sign away the land without authority, the council cannot find any applications for lease agreements for any of the stands and cannot find any proof of payment.
Council contends that two other stands measuring thousands of square metres were allocated to Madamombe Sports Academy, which it contends is a non-existent entity and is certainly not registered. In any case Mr Madamombe has now told the council that the leasehold is held by him personally.
“The other piece of land being stands 19700 to 19771 were allegedly awarded to a non-existent legal person called Madamombe Sports Academy, a non-registered entity, contrary to the law that a lease can only be granted to a natural person or artificial person and strangely, the first defendant (Madamombe) is claiming the piece of land to be under his leasehold in person,” read council documents.
Stand Number 19770 allocated to Mr Madamombe in Seke South measures 26 000 square metres (2,6ha) while stand numbers 19774 to 19779 measure a total of 24 108 square metres.
Mr Madamombe also got stands 19787 to 19790 measuring about 3 000 square metres each.
Mr Madamombe is not new to land disputes as he once clashed with Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa’s United Family International Church (UFIC) over stand number 19770
He once claimed occupancy of the land where UFIC’s 30 million structure near Town Centre in Chitungwiza was built.
Council later split the stand and later still offered Mr Madamombe alternative land in Nyatsime.