BULAWAYO – Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) is embroiled in a nasty land wrangle with the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC), in a development that has created bad blood between the two organisations.
The land which measures about 718 hectares was legally acquired by Zimta in 2014 from the Central and Southern Africa Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), a religious group that had put it on sale. The land, known as Valindre Farm, is situated about 15 kilometres along the Bulawayo Plumtree Road.
Southern News understands that ZPC had identified the farm as suitable for establishing a solar plant. Initially, the power company had wanted to take over the land using unorthodox means until they realised that the teachers’ representative body held title deeds to the piece of land.
At one point ZPC reportedly took the matter up with the Lands ministry but got no joy. This paper has it on good record that at one point the two organisations held meetings with ZPC intending to buy the land but fell short on agreeing the terms.
However, trouble began when the power company flighted an advert in the media calling for those who objected to them occupying the contested land. As if that was not enough, ZPC also filed a power generation licence application to Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) in a bid to get express approval to undertake their business at the farm.
Zimta chief executive officer Sifiso Ndlovu yesterday confirmed the impasse indicating that he was not pleased with the way the power company conducted itself in this whole land issue.
“We had had an interest from ZPC who had indicated their desire to have the farm but we were disturbed most recently when they went on to apply for a licence to produce solar power at the farm without concluding the matter with Zimta,” Ndlovu said.
Ndlovu, however, said the matter has since been heard by Zera, who declined the application by ZPC pending re-engagement between the two parties.
ZPC spokesperson Fadzai Chisveto could not be reached for comment. However, sources at the power company revealed that there was interest to pursue the matter legally as a solar plant was still a priority to their operations.