DEPUTY Energy minister and Harare South MP Hubert Nyanhongo has declared that his supporters will not vacate two farms in Harare South despite three High Court orders for them to leave.
The farms â€” Nyarungu and Stoneridge â€” are owned by Jetmaster Properties and Pinnacle Property Holdings and have been at the centre of an ownership wrangle between the two companies on the one hand and three cooperatives on the other.
Nyanhongo told the Zimbabwe Independent this week that Jetmaster Properties and Pinnacle Property Holdings were wasting their time because the farms were allocated by government to his supporters. He charged that the two firms had illegally acquired the farms.
â€œStoneridge was acquired by government in 2000 as well as Nyarungu for urban expansion,â€ Nyanhongo said. â€œOur people applied to be allocated the two farms. Some of the applications were made through housing cooperatives.â€
He said his supporters were later given offer letters for the land.
â€œOffer letters come from the government and the farms are now state land. The state also went further to give offer letters to housing co-operatives in 2002 which are Chimurenga, Pungwe and Simon Muzenda and were allowed to start developing Stoneridge,â€ the deputy minister said.
He said Nyarungu farm has about 2 500 beneficiaries while Stoneridge has more than 3 000.
â€œAn Act promulgated in 2000 states that there is no one who can sell land that belongs to the state. No one is allowed to buy or sell land to anyone because all land in Zimbabwe belongs to the state,â€ Nyanhongo said. â€œWhether someone went on to buy or sell the land, I donâ€™t know how he purchased it because it is illegal.
Somebody is trying to intimidate the people but I want to tell you that our people are firm on the ground. The government position remains the same and we will fight for the land to the bitter end.â€
However, in a letter in the possession of the Independent dated July 3 2009 from the Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities signed by an S Sibanda, it is clear Stoneridge farm which was previously owned by a Mr Lloyd Evans was not gazetted for acquisition by the government.
â€œThe occupants of Stoneridge are Hondo Yeminda, Moven Mahachi and Simon Muzenda (cooperatives).
However, Stoneridge farm was owned by Mr Evans but was not gazetted. The original owner sold it to Pinnacle Holdings,â€ read the letter. â€œThis matter needs to be resolved by Ministries of Local Government and Lands. Until this is resolved government has no legal say on Stoneridge. Amalish Investments was never given authority to develop Stoneridge. There is no legal agreement between the ministry and Amalish to develop Stoneridge.â€
Amalish Investments, among other companies, developers and individuals, had reportedly developed and disposed of stands on the farms illegally.
To assert its ownership of Nyarungu farm, Pinnacle Property Holdings obtaining three High Court orders for the occupiers to stop housing cooperatives, and companies and individuals to stop selling stands at the property. The orders were granted in 2003, 2005 and in April this year.
The court, in its ruling, held that Pinnacle was the legitimate owner of the land. The legal dispute on Stoneridge is still pending before the High Court.
According to an advert placed in a weekly newspaper at the weekend Pinnacle and Jetmaster said directors of Amalish and the leadership of the housing co-operatives have since been charged with defying the court order. The two companies said some of them have since been charged with fraud arising from the illegal sale of the stands.