LAND worth millions of United States dollars was parcelled among Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) councillors and management at the Harare City Council with the corruption also sucking in legislators from the opposition.
Ostensibly, the councillors and top management would get the land on a monthly lease but, by virtue of their holding title to the land, which they will be paying for monthly, they can still proceed to sell the land.
Allocated stands to the councillors and management is about 122 388 square metres and if they are sold for at US$40 per square metre, they fetch a minimum of US$4 895 500.
Impeccable sources told The Herald that a CCC councillor Tichaona Mhetu sold a commercial stand he bought for a whopping US$100 000 and splashed the money on a Toyota Hilux double Legend 50.
The councillors, apart from grabbing the stands directly, also use their wives, girlfriends and shelf companies to loot prime council land, with information indicating that they also pay a fee to their party, as they help fundraise for the next year elections, whilst greasing the hands of the opposition leadership.
For instance, Cllr Mhetu got a stand in Aspindale on November 14, and his wife only identified as Mokoki got another commercial stands in Glaudina on 14 December 2022.
While disposal of commercial and industrial land is regulated by Item 3(3) of the Land Alienation Sub Committee Resolution of 26 September 2005, which was adopted by Full Commission on 29 September 2005 under item 16, to enable accountability, equity and transparency in land governance, the councillors passed a resolution that reversed that whole concept, leaving room for abuse.
For councillors, allocation of land is regulated by a Ministerial Minute No.1 of 2011, which directed that as a measure to uplift the welfare of councillors, local authorities can allocate one residential and one commercial stand per councillor in their respective wards, in the event that land is unavailable, they are allocated in the neighbouring adjacent wards.
These allocations are specific to the incumbent’s wards and, or alternatively to neighbouring wards.
However, in direct contravention of the law, the councillors purporting to be businessmen and women applied for land, when their eligibility arises from incumbency.
The procedure is that allocations for commercial, industrial and residential land to councillors is done through the Human Resources and General Purposes Committee for approval and not through the Finance and Development Committee as was the case when the Mayor Jacob Mafume-led council twerked laws and by-laws for self-enrichment.
The brazen corruption has been going on for some time now with the Finance and Development Committee being at the helm of parceling out land.
For instance, on Monday November 14 at 11:00 am at Town House the committee met with the following officials in attendance, cllrs C. Mande (Chairperson) G. Hadebe vice chairperson M. Dutuma, L. Gomba; H. Gotora, Ian Makone, M. S Mutizwa and council officials namely S.I. Sithole (acting Town Clerk), W. Chiwawa (acting chamber Secretary, G. Kusangaya, (Acting Finance Director), B. Matengarufu (acting human capital director), Eng. V.Z Musikavanhu (acting director of Harare Water) among other top council officials.
At the meeting, 23 stands comprising of commercial and or industrial in various locations were allocated mostly to officials who were present in the meeting.
In one allocation, there is Joseph Kunashe, Keith Charumbira, Denford Ngadziore who are councillors for ward 33 Budiriro, ward 8 Highlands and ward 16 (Ashdown Park, Mabelreign Central, Greencroft, Haig Park, Lenana Park, Cotswold Hills, Bloomingdale) respectively.
Pakhamile M Moyo is the Acting Town Clerk. The allocations are under report number 78/22/FD/GM dated 29 October 2022 and referenced as Msasa Gen.
The report does not specify how these together with other beneficiaries were selected got acres of land in Cleveland.
Harare Mayor Jacob Mafume said no stand has been leased yet.
“These are leases and they go through a process, those are proposed names and those are subject to approval. We are leasing the land but it can only be sold after five years. The leases can only be signed after the due process. I recused myself from the whole process because all of the people involved are known to me,” he said.
Reacting to The Herald story on Twitter, Mr Mafume had earlier said “the process was done before we got back in office.The workers, councilors followed due process and the letter of the law.The land still belongs to council. We no longer sell commercial land before development. Its leased monthly”.
While service delivery has almost grounded to zero in the former sunshine city, the councilors are taking huge chunks of land some of which measure as much as 8000 sq metres, and then feed fat on the loot.
For example, in Aspindale councilor Mande got a 7 327 square metre for US$1 100 or equivalent at the prevailing interbank rate while Mhetu is paying US$1 218 for a 8 117 sqm, on the other hand Matione paid US$925 for a 6 163sqm.
In the same area, Kunashe got a 6 929sqm for US$1 040, Charumbira got a 5 293 sqm for US$790, acting Town Clerk Moyo got a 5 052 sqm for US$760 and acting finance director Kusangaya got 5 809 square metres for US$872 or local currency equivalent.
Councillor Dutuma and Kashangura got a 5 474 square metres industrial stand in Glaudina for US$550 which was valued at $0,10 cents per square metre. – Herald