By Tafara Chikumira and Tendai Munengwa
Government is crafting a policy that will see unscrupulous land developers having their permits revoked.
The time for home seekers to continue losing money to greedy land barons is soon coming to an end as the government moves in to protect innocent citizens who have fallen victim to such individuals for years.
Addressing stakeholders in Gweru this Friday, the Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities, Honourable Daniel Garwe said the government is crafting a roadmap to ensure that people have habitable settlements, insisting that no houses will be demolished in the process.
“If we are to develop Zimbabwe, we must agree to put a stop to informal settlements. One reason we have such is because of land barons who were supposed to develop the areas but pocketed the money. One thing I want to assure you is that we are going to revoke the permits of these land barons. I also want to assure you that no house is going to be demolished. We have the funding to regularise all this.”
Midlands Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Senator Larry Mavhima, who was represented by his Director, Mr Cleto Diwa said the province is seized by unscrupulous land barons who have been fleecing people at will.
“We have been having a challenge of housing across the province. The most affected are youths and women. As a result of their desperation, some land barons have been preying on their hard-earned money. Honourable Minister, we want such people to be brought to justice.”
Going forward, the government is in the process of improving infrastructure in rural areas to encourage urban-rural migration and de-congest towns.
Meanwhile, in Harare, a provincial task-force has been set to regularise housing cooperatives, demolish all illegal structures in Harare, Ruwa and Chitungwiza and prosecute land barons.
Chaired by the newly appointed provincial development coordinator for Harare, Tafadzwa Muguti, the joint provincial task-force that was established this Thursday also comprises the Zimbabwe Republic Police and town clerks.
The major objective of the Taskforce is to investigate and arrest land barons, politicians and local authority officials involved in illegal dishing out of state land.
“It is high time that the tendencies of abusing political party and council powers to swindle unsuspecting citizens of their hard-earned money should come to an end and we have a list of the chief culprits who will soon be brought to book for land fraud,” said Harare Provincial Development Coordinator Tafadzwa Muguti.
Police Chief Superintendent Matial Dube, said some of the resolutions adopted by the Taskforce are that police will investigate all cooperatives and individuals listed as culprits, arrest and take them to court.
“We resolved that police will work with members of this task-force, and anyone found on the wrong side of the law will be arrested. It was also resolved that regularisation be done on legally acquired land while demolitions will be done on all illegal occupiers including car sales.”
The task force has also resolved that all housing cooperatives in the metropolitan province be dissolved, with those that are genuine being allowed to re-apply.