Mliswa tackles Rautenbach over land dispute

Billy Rautenbach
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A RAGING land dispute between tycoon Billy Rautenbach and residents of Aspindale — a suburb in Harare — has taken a new twist after a Member of Parliament, Temba Mliswa, asked the government to intervene in favour of the families.

Mliswa last month wrote to Local Government minister July Moyo, seeking an investigation into the ownership of the stands, where thousands of people live.

The Norton MP, who has been fighting in the corner of the residents and initially brought the matter to parliament, claimed in his correspondence that Rautenbach has been using police in a bid to evict the residents, and also demanding US$85 in rentals.

Rautenbach, on his part, insists he owns the land under his company, Marimba Residential Properties Limited.

Mliswa disputes this, saying that the wealthy businessman has no “proof of payment and agreement of sale” to prove he is the bona fide owner of the of land, where some residents have incurred significant costs to build spacious homes.

Aspindale land was previously owned by Rothmans International, a British tobacco manufacturer which was acquired by British American Tobacco in 1999.

In writing, Mliswa claimed that Rothmans International handed over the land to the government, which, in turn, allocated it to its current occupants under the Joshua Nkomo Housing Cooperative.

Both President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga, according to Mliswa, have previously showed their support for the residents.

Mliswa said that at a meeting with the residents in February this year, “His Excellency (Mnangagwa) declared and made a commitment that the residents have legal right of abode and would therefore never be removed.”   – News Hawks