George Maponga Masvingo Bureau
Government has ordered police to investigate the development and allocation of residential stands in Victoria Ranch in Masvingo City, where over 5 000 stands have been offered to home-seekers over the past three years. This comes in the wake of several arrests by the police of land barons who have fleeced thousands of desperate home-seekers of millions of dollars by allocating them housing stands on undesignated State and council land.
Victoria Ranch was acquired by the Government under the land reform programme for development of residential stands at affordable prices for low-income earners. Thousands of residential stands have since been developed by housing developers at Victoria Ranch in a move that has greatly reduced housing backlog in Masvingo city.
Masvingo Provincial Affairs Minister Senator Shuvai Mahofa yesterday said she was still waiting for a report from the police on developments at Victoria Ranch. “The police are investigating the development and allocation of housing stands at Victoria Ranch and they are yet to come back to us with the report. We will wait until they complete their investigations,’’ she said.
Sen Mahofa said Government wanted transparency in the development and allocation of housing stands to protect ordinary people from greedy and corrupt land barons. Several housing developers at Victoria Ranch under the Masvingo Housing Consortium banner have developed and allocated thousands of stands to civil servants and military personnel at affordable rates, significantly reducing the housing backlog in Masvingo city.
However, there were fears that some greedy land barons might have tried to take advantage of the demand for housing stands in Victoria Ranch by illegally selling stands on undesignated places in the area.