New twist to Zvimba land scam

The land allocation saga in President Robert Mugabe’s home district of Zvimba has taken a new twist after the local authority ordered a property developer embroiled in irregular dealings to regularise operations within three months after a government-commissioned investigation exposed cases of alleged corruption.

Bernard Mpofu

As first reported by the Zimbabwe Independent last week, a new probe into the goings-on at Zvimba Rural District Council, an area which includes parts of Harare’s Westgate and Snake Park, exposed a series of irregularities, corruption, flouting of tender procedures, bribery and lack of accountability on new housing projects within the precincts of Harare.

The explosive findings were revealed by an investigation commissioned by Rural Development minister Abednico Ncube, whose report is titled Investigation of Zvimba Rural District Council: Mashonaland West 2016.

The committee comprised Mike Mazai (chairperson), Abigail Mandizha, Morris Chigoma, Phibeon Nyamande and Kelvin Mayoyo.

It is understood that this week Zvimba RDC officials met with developers including executives of Delatfin Investments (Pvt) Ltd where timelines were set to develop areas that are lagging behind. This came after the report revealed that Delatfin was three years behind schedule in terms of servicing land it was allocated in 2011.

The report found that Delatfin, which is in a 60/40 partnership with Zvimba RDC to service the Sandton Park project on Haydon Farm, connived with some government officials to by-pass laid down procedures set by the local authority.

“The team discovered that some councillors were nicodemously meeting developers without council mandate and making deals to support developers’ interests in council,” the report reads in part.

Zvimba RDC officials took Delatfin executives to task over the deals.

“During this meeting, Delatfin was ordered to complete the projects as per the memorandum of understanding and this should be done within three months.

Monitoring these projects should begin next week,” said one official.

Zvimba RDC chief executive Peter Hlohla could not be reached for comment as his phone went unanswered.

The report claims that Delatfin annexed more land without following procedure.

“The developer instead of coming up with a site plan of 120ha he produced a site plan of 240ha and misrepresented to the Department of Physical Planning to have it approved without any offer letter or paying for it. Delatfin has already begun servicing the stands and selling them without government or council’s consent and there is no related council MOU or Ministry letter of allocation for that land,” the report reads.

“Council has no problem in working with Delatfin Pvt Ltd on the first 120ha which it recommended the ministry to consider him for, but it is hesitant on working with Delatfin on the other 120ha due to the absence of relevant paperwork from the Local Government ministry.”

Contacted for comment, Delatfin chief executive Felix Munyaradzi last week denied the allegations against him, saying this was a smear campaign by people who want to illegally grab Haydon Farm.

“I have no issues with anyone. There is a big fight over land which was allocated to other players in a tendered project. That is where all these issues are coming from. My legal counsel is actually working on this matter,” he said in an interview.

Zvimba Rural District Council is now demanding US$10 million in arrears owed by Delatfin for failing to meet its obligations.

Top