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Sandton project beneficiaries risk eviction

Hundreds of people settled on a more than 240ha stretch of land in Highdon (Sandton project) under the Zvimba Rural District Council face imminent eviction after the local authority’s lawyers recently wrote to the developer to inform them of the intention.

Main entrance to the Zvimba Rural District Council Head Office
Main entrance to the Zvimba Rural District Council Head Office

In a letter to Bvekwa Law Practice Legal Practitioners — who are the legal representatives of developer Delatfin Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd — Mushonga, Mutsvairo and Associates, on behalf of council, cited failure by the company to comply with an agreement that was signed back in 2011 when the two parties entered into a partnership.

Zvimba Rural District Council argue the contract earlier entered into is now being terminated forthwith for reasons which include failure to meet contractual obligations as stipulated in the memorandum of agreement.

It has also emerged from the correspondences between the two parties that the developer has not paid for the land, thereby prejudicing government of millions of dollars’ worth of tax money.

Questions also abound why the developer has proceeded to grab large tracts of land from the RDC without the consent of the local authority, which land has been parcelled to “beneficiaries” who are not privy to the dispute.

In a March 5, 2018, letter that is in possession of this publication addressed to Delatfin legal representatives, Bvekwa Law Practice Legal Practitioners informing them of the termination of partnership agreement, ZRDC attorneys Mushonga Mutsvairo and Associates wrote:

“We are instructed by our clients to forthwith advise your clients to stop with immediate effect from dealing with all Sandton stand owners and refer issues to Zvimba RDC forthwith.

“Through the press and media, we will warn members of the public not to buy any stands from your client because the agreement has been terminated and we will continue to inform all residents to deal with ZRDC on all matters concerning Sandton project forthwith, otherwise they shall be prejudiced if they continue to engage your client to their own prejudice,” said the plaintiff’s lawyers, who indicated they are in the process of initiating the legal processes.

In the stand-off, the developer (Delatfin Enterprises Pvt Ltd) is being accused of having failed to meet the deadlines in the project which started in 2011 and despite several subsequent extensions of deadlines, has neglected to finalise the joint venture project.

“Your client has subdivided open spaces without prior approval from our client (council) and still owes council 40 percent share of stands created on open spaces.
“He is still to pay for bricks and quarry collected from council debtors despite numerous follow-ups and he has failed to complete the construction to completion of all roads in the project despite several undertakings to do so,” the law firm cited in their papers.

Information at hand shows that Delatfin (Pvt) Ltd was awarded a tender, albeit under controversial circumstances, to service 744,56ha of Haydon Farm, which is now known as the Sandton project. It is located on the outskirts of Harare near Westgate along the Harare-Lomagundi Road.

The partnership between the company and the RDC only prepared and approved a layout plan covering 266ha because the other part was still occupied by a jatropha project underway.

Without consent of the custodians of the land (ZRDC), the private developer grabbed a further 240ha on land adjacent to the initially approved project.
This was allegedly done in cohorts with some senior officials in the Local Government ministry’s department of Physical Planning, who are now turning a blind eye as the storm is brewing.

A planner only named as Mungoshi has since been dismissed from work.

A close relative of the former first lady, Grace Mugabe (name supplied), is believed to have been involved in the shenanigans, and so are some senior law enforcement officers.

New Local Government minister July Moyo was recently appraised of the developments when he visited ZRDC on a familiarisation tour, and was even furnished with a comprehensive 2014 investigation report that details, among other matters, the Sandton saga.

Meanwhile, Delatfin (Pvt) Ltd has filed a court interdict that cites ZRDC and the minister of Local Government as respondents in a bid to counter the served notice and the company is begging the High Court to attend to the matter as a matter of urgency. DailyNews