Samuel Kadungure Acting News Editor
RUSAPE Town Council is on brink of winning its fight against a consortium of land barons that grabbed an estimated 2 000 hectares of prime urban expansion land after the anomalies were highlighted in a report presented to President Mnangagwa on Tuesday.
The grabbed land is more than double the current size of Rusape.
The report by the Commission of Inquiry into the Sale of State Land in and Around Urban Settlements recommended that 22 cases in Manicaland be investigated and cited Zimati Kop and Rockingstone Farms, in Rusape as examples.
Zimati Kop, Rockingstone Farm stretch from the Makoni district heroes’ acre to Tsanzaguru.
Zimati Kop, which measures 1 115 hectares, is registered under Diagonal Investments, whose directors are Mr Norman Sachikonye and Kenneth Charles Ziehl.
Rockingstone Farm, which measures 891ha, is owned by E.C.R. Mordit (Pvt) Ltd under Deed of Transfer Number 6653/99, under the directorship of Mr Basil Nyabadza and Mr Mordit.
Mr Sachikonye claims to have acquired the farm from Mr Ziehl in 1999 for Z$200 million and got a certificate of no present interest from the Ministry of Lands on June 1, 2010. He was issued with title deeds on August 5, 2010 and supporting documents for the subdivision of the farm.
RTC declared its interest on Zimati Kop for urban expansion in 1995.
Rockingstone Farm, Zimati Kop and the portion between Tsanzaguru and Rusape were incorporated into Rusape through a July 22, 2013 Presidential proclamation.
DESMA Consulting Engineers (Pvt) Ltd was contracted to spearhead the proposed subdivision work at Zimati Kop and Rockingstone farms but a special RTC full council meeting of October 9, 2013 rejected the proposed subdivision of Rockingstone Farm.
Diagonal Investments (Pvt) Ltd has sold about 1 000 stands in the first phase and the red flag by the commission appears to have vindicated the local authority in its fight against the consortium.
“The Commission established that there are several serious cases which require further investigations by relevant bodies which have arresting and enforcement powers such as the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, National Prosecuting Authority and Zimbabwe Republic Police,” reads the commission’s report.
“(There is need to) exercise due diligence in the issuance of certificates of No Present Interest to avoid issuing such certificates in respect of acquired State land as happened in the cases of Zimati Kop and Rockingstone farms in Makoni district near Rusape town or issuing large tracts of State land to one beneficiary because of their political connections such as land which was offered to Muungwe Properties (Pvt) Ltd owned by one family in Makoni District, which is almost the size of land occupied by Rusape