Residents oppose Harare land deal with municipality boss

OVER 100 Mandara residents have petitioned Harare City Council to reverse its recent move to sell a piece of land measuring 40 623 square metres to a private company owned by council’s human capital director Cainos Chimombe.

The residents said the land, identified as stand number 76 Mandara, was earmarked for construction of a school and should not be used for any other purposes.
They cited conflict of interest, adding that Chimombe’s firm, Caneview Investments (Pvt) Ltd, had no financial capacity to build a school in the area in accordance with council’s master plan.

On July 17, the city published a notice in the Press proposing to sell the land to Caneview Investments Private Limited for $406 000.

Part of the notice read: “Notice is hereby given in terms of Section 152 of the Urban Councils’ Act (Chapter 29:15) that the city of Harare intends to sell stand 76 Mandara Township which is 40 623 square metres in extent to Caneview Investments (Pvt) Ltd for $406 000.”
Residents oppose Harare land deal with municipality boss
The council asked aggrieved residents to submit their objections by August 7, resulting in the signing of the petition, which was submitted to Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni and copied to Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere, Harare East MP Terrence Mukupe and Education minister Lazarus Dokora. The petition read in part: “The stand is being sold for $406 000 and we do not think he (Chimombe) has the financial capacity to pay for the stand and to construct a school, which the residents desperately need.

“We strongly object to council selling to its senior employees such large pieces of land which mean when deeds are secured it will not be put to the intended purpose for the benefit of the residents.”

The residents added: “The stand is a school site measuring 40 625 square metres and should not be leased or sold to council employees given its large size. The stand should be tendered out for the construction of a school in the suburb. Mandara surburb does not have a primary school.”

The residents alleged that a certain Christian organisation once leased the same stand with the intention of building a school, but was forced out after council hiked its rentals to $3 700 per month.

Contacted for comment yesterday, council spokesperson Michael Chideme referred all questions to Chimombe, who, however, was unreachable on his mobile phone. Manyenyeni was also unreachable.

One of the signatories Francis Zimunya Nyamutsamba, who is also chairman of the Greendale Residents and Ratepayers’ Association, yesterday vowed to continue fighting until the deal had been reversed.

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