MINISTER of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Advocate Misheck Mugadza has raised a red flag over the illegal parcelling out of residential stands in the Gimboki area of Dangamvura, Mutare.
The malcontents have been parcelling out residential stands in an area reserved for educational facilities, with desperate home seekers thronging the area for the land.
This comes at a time when President Mnangagwa has spoken strongly against the illegal parcelling out of land.
President Mnangagwa’s sentiments came after the findings of the Justice Tendai Uchena-led Commission of Inquiry into the sale of State land in and around urban settlements were tabled.
The report stated that land barons, housing cooperatives’ leaders, property developers and politically-connected people illegally sold US$3 billion worth of urban State land since 2005 and pocketed most of the cash.
“The report contains glaring excesses which we must correct. We must bring the guilty parties to account without fear or favour,” said President Mnangagwa.
“The Government, the National Prosecuting Authority, the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission must interest themselves in the findings of that report.
“The law will take its course without fear or favour in this regard,” said the President.
Speaking on Saturday during the hand-over of a Greenside police base that was constructed by the Greenside-Palmerstone East Neighbourhood Watch members, Minister Mugadza said allocation of residential stands should be done procedurally in a non-partisan manner.
He called for a stop on all illegal activities unfolding in Gimboki, adding that due processes should be followed so that individuals will not lose out.
“A lot is being said on social media regarding the parcelling out of residential stands in Gimboki. President Mnangagwa, whom I represent here through the Office of Minister of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs and Devolution, is against unlawful parcelling out of land and has not sanctioned these activities.
“There are laid down procedures that should be followed in allocating residential stands.
“We cannot use footsteps and ropes to measure residential stands as this is unlawful. I am happy that most people understand what procedures should be followed in allocating residential stands. What is happening in Gimboki is unprocedural and unlawful.
“President Mnangagwa is a listening President who is kind-hearted and loves all Zimbabweans. He is very alive to the fact that we need residential stands, so there are well defined arrangements being put in place to ensure lawful allocation of residential stands to people. The National Development Strategy 1 is very clear on the need for people to have proper and decent shelter,” said Minister Mugadza.
He said his office is engaging the relevant ministries to ensure that the allocation of residential stands in Manicaland’s urban areas is speeded up.
“However, everything should be done procedurally. There are responsible ministries that spearhead the allocation of land and this is not under the jurisdiction of the Minister of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs and Devolution. Land allocation is done by the Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities, working together with the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works.
“There are peri-urban areas around the city which can be legally annexed and allocated to home seekers. These areas should be serviced first and allocated to people who would have paid for the land. One cannot just wake up, gather people and start allocating residential stands. This creates chaos.
“I want to inform those who claim to have been allocated residential stands in Gimboki that the area belongs to either Mutare City Council or the State. The stands can only be allocated if the land has been properly gazetted with the blessing of President Mnangagwa,” said Minister Mugadza.
He added: “There are toxic messages circulating on social media. We have reached a point where individuals create their own messages purporting to be coming from certain offices. They go on to reply those messages to suit their narratives. This is not how we communicate.
“I want to reiterate that President Mnangagwa is against lawlessness. We cannot claim that we were allocated stands when this was illegally done. Residential stands allocation will not be partisan, this will be done properly,” said Minister Mugadza.
In a recent statement, Mutare City Council also warned against the illegal allocation of stands in Gimboki.
The statement reads: “Notice is hereby given to City of Mutare customers, residents, and stakeholders to be on the look-out for individuals engaging in fraudulent land allocation in the Gimboki area. This notice is being issued in the public interest, in order to protect and safeguard the public against such fraudulent activities.
“Council would like to inform customers, residents and stakeholders that the land in question has not been transferred to any organisation or individual. Council has not engaged any third party or agent to dispose of the land on its behalf. The land in question is designated for education facilities, and is not meant for residential purposes. No change of use has been effected or will be effected on the piece of land.
“Individual home seekers stand to lose out should they buy land from these individuals who are masquerading as authority to parcel out land illegally. Where council resolve to sale, lease or donate land, it shall advertise its intentions to do so in terms of Section 152 of the Urban Council’s Act, Chapter 29:15,” reads the statement.
In July, the Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities warned the public of bogus land barons that are fleecing people and claiming to represent the ministry.
In a statement, the ministry said: “The Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities would like to warn members of the public against unscrupulous companies, trusts, organisations or groups purporting to facilitate the construction of houses for individuals while demanding payments from unsuspecting home-seekers using the ministry’s name to authenticate their fraudulent activities.
“The Ministry would like to categorically distance itself from such people and is treating them as fraudsters who should meet the full wrath of the law.
“Any housing scheme by the ministry will be made known through a public notice in the mainstream media. If anyone has fallen victim to such impostors and has unwittingly participated in such schemes, please make a formal report to your nearest police station.
“We urge members of the public to exercise caution and verify with the ministry or respective local authorities before joining or paying for housing schemes. The Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities will not be responsible for any losses that may be incurred by individuals who transact with such unscrupulous companies.”