BY GARIKAI MAFIRAKUREVA
Over 240 Chiredzi residents have resorted to take their local authority to court over undelivered residential stands.
The residents claimed they were made to pay US$2 300 each in 2014, but are yet to be allocated the stands after council collected a whooping US$552 000 from them.
They have roped in the United Chiredzi Residents and Ratepayers Association (Uchirra) and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights to help in filing the court application.
Their lawyers said they would file the court papers this week.
Council chairperson Gibson Hwende confirmed the issue, but said he would seek more details from the housing director.
“I heard about the stands, but I have to see the housing director so that she can apprise me on the situation on the ground. I only know about those who were affected by the flash floods in February 2019 who are supposed to be allocated new stands,” he said.
Town secretary Charles Muchatukwa could not be reached for comment on his mobile phone.
However, Uchirra spokesperson Bernard Dachi said: “We are even surprised that our council was always claiming it was broke but they managed to collect over half a million United States dollars.
“We had no option but to approach lawyers for human rights because for six years council has been violating these people’s rights to shelter as enshrined in the Constitution.
“We feel this is a criminal case that needs investigation. How could council collect money from residents when they knew they no longer have land to allocate prospective home-owners?”
Recently, a commission of inquiry on land was in Chiredzi investigating some of the allegations, but is yet to give feedback on its findings.
Chiredzi Town Council has over the years been blighted by reports of corruption.
At one time, councillors allegedly allocated each other 40 stands and Chiredzi was once labelled the most corrupt council by former Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere.