ZEBAKWE Housing Trust (ZHT) which administers properties for the now defunct mining concern BHP, is threatening to sue the Chegutu municipality over the repossession and redistribution of the
trust’s 63 residential stands.
The stands, with an estimated market value of $260 million, were allegedly repossessed by the municipality without notifying the trust.
The stands in high-density suburbs were acquired by BHP for the construction of housing for its employees.
The closure of the platinum mine resulted in the stands, together with the rest of the company’s properties, being ceded to a trust which was to manage them for the benefit of former mine employees.
An official of the ZHT confirmed the repossession of the stands by the municipality and the contemplated legal action.
He said although the trust had paid for the stands in full and was in possession of title deeds the council had resold the properties.
“Such action, as the law states, is illegal and all we want is what rightly belongs to us,” said the official.
He said the trust was willing to act on the matter, as the stands had been accounted for as part of the property ceded to the trust by BHP.
“We have submitted our position to our lawyers and they will have to advise us on the way forward,” said the trust official.
He said despite structures having been constructed on the stands, the trust would fight to get them back. He said some of the stands were still registered under BHP and the trust would like them transferred on to their books.
“Despite all these developments we are going ahead in changing ownership of the stands,” said the official. The mayor of Chegutu municipality Francis Dhlakama professed ignorance of the matter as he said the wrangle might have started before he was elected into office.
He said the controversy surrounding the operations of the council could also have influenced the repossession of the stands.
“It’s all news to me as that matter might have taken place before I came in. But as you know I have had some problems during my term of office,” said Dhlakama.