15 000 home-seekers stranded

Source: 15 000 home-seekers stranded | The Herald  July 12, 2016

Samantha Chigogo Herald Correspondent
Over 15 000 home-seekers are stranded after illegal settlers occupied their land at Bramer Farms where they have been paying monthly instalments to Chitungwiza Municipality for the past 10 years.

The illegal settlers have removed city council pegs and replaced them with their own, which they are using to dupe home-seekers, and selling land between $150 and $500 depending on the size.

Speaking during a tour of the farms yesterday, Chitungwiza Municipality planning director Mr Conrad Muchesa said the two farms were council property, and the illegal settlement had to be addressed urgently.

“Council was allocated this portion of land through the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing in 2006. Council planned and allocated 15 500 stands, whilst we were preparing to have this area serviced and move our people here,” he said.

“After some time, there were rogue elements who moved in and occupied stands without any papers.”

Mr Muchesa said the illegal settlers were taking advantage of a court interdict preventing the council from stopping their occupation.

“We cannot even report these people to police because we are interdicted from coming here and people are taking advantage of that, thus invading land and stands allocated by council, creating smaller stands where we had initially pegged bigger stands,” he said.

“As council we had 15 500 people whom we had allocated here, and we cannot allocate these people land anywhere, even if we let these illegal settlers stay here. All this confusion is emanating from the interdict, which we have because we cannot move in and manage the situation.”

Director of policy, research, planning programmes and coordination in the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Mr Nathan Nkomo said: “Officially, the Ministry of Local Government acquired the land through the Ministry of Lands, and later gave it to Chitungwiza Municipality under a scheme meant to help the majority with affordable land.

“Teething problems have risen due to some illegal invasions, which the minister will address tomorrow (today).

“Although there is a court interdict, which has been preventing the municipality from dealing with the invaders, there is need for urgent Government inter- vention.”

Bramer Farms secretary Mr Christian Magonya said the farm lacked standard ablution facilities.