People who settled in Whitecliff, Harare illegally on land that belongs to a property developer have pleaded with the Government to honour its pledge to compensate the developer and save their homes from demolition.
The residents were settled on land owned by Eddies Pfugari Properties (Pfugari) over a decade ago with the government’s blessing.
In 2017, Pfugari obtained a High Court order to evict the settlers but the Government quickly moved in and promised to compensate the company.
Four years down the line, the Government is yet to honour its pledge, prompting the company to write to the police through its lawyers seeking an escort for the deputy sheriff to evict the residents.
A local councillor, Luckson Maronga, told NewZimbabwe.com that the residents expect the Government to honour its commitment as they are on the verge of being evicted. Said Maronga:
There might be a misunderstanding between the government and Pfugari Properties. Government is the one that is negotiating on behalf of the people.
As local leadership, we can not blame Pfugari because it’s their land. There is no land for free in Zimbabwe.
Government is the one that settled people here, so Pfugari is right to say the authorities should bill their people.
Some of the people have already built properties; they want to safeguard their assets.
People are ready to pay but Pfugari is saying the government is the one that settled people here and should collect money from the people.
A resident, Maxwell Goche (71), said he has no other place to go to and the constant fear of being evicted is depressing.
Goche is one of the people who were settled by the Government in 2005 through the much-hyped Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle program.
Another resident, Charity Mudzi (45), said the Government should pay the company and then residents will negotiate terms of payment with the former as they won’t be able to meet the demands of the company.