The government has blocked businessman Billy Rautenbach from evicting thousands of residents that had purchased land in Aspindale Park, Harare.
Rautenbach has been accusing them of “illegally settling on his land.” Norton legislator, Temba Mliswa who has been fighting Billy tooth and nail, however, claims the tycoon has no title deeds for the land.
Rautenbach’s company, Marimba Residential Properties, has been embroiled in the land dispute with five housing co-operatives Joshua Nkomo, Leopold Takawira, Wadzanai, Mydek and Dzapasi which took possession of the vast property described as Number 48 Aspindale Park Township of subdivision A of Aspindale Park of subdivision A of Lochinvar measuring over 100 hectares.
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NewsDay Weekender reports that Rautenbach met Harare Metropolitan Affairs minister Oliver Chidawu on Monday to finalise the matter but the meeting ended in deadlock.
The minister allegedly told Rautenbach that it was politically suicidal for government to evict party supporters ahead of the 2023 harmonised elections. The minutes read:
He mentioned that the land was inaccessible due to the houses that have been built by the co-operatives. He added that evicting the residents appeared inevitable, but he cited that the move appeared politically wrong as it would be viewed as the Zanu-PF government fighting Zanu-PF supporters in view of the forthcoming year 2003 harmonised plebiscite._
Chidawu also indicated that he had exhausted options in his efforts to try to assist Rautenbach “and his metropolitan province had now gotten tired.”
He pleaded with Rautenbach to reduce the purchase price of the disputed land from US$85 per square metre to US$50 per square metre to allow the occupants to purchase the land.
Rautenbach reportedly turned down the proposal revealing that he was, instead, considering increasing the purchase price to US$125 per square metre.
He suggested an option to buy all constructed houses owned by those residents not forthcoming coming to his cause and get them relocated elsewhere.
Ringleaders like Benedict Nyenyeza aka Mapiravana and Shadreck Majoni (Joshua Mqabuko Co-operative treasurer) among others would be evicted in order to bring about obedience among the residents.
Rautenbach pledged to build a state-of-the-art Marimba Police Station and donate to the government a modernised school within the property, among other corporate social responsibilities if he is protected.