Social movements usually made up of civil society organizations (CSOs) are largely emerging as an important force in Zimbabweans lives, championing issues such as human rights, health, governance to name but a few.
CSOs are largely shifting their stance a bit to include aspects such as social justice in urban planning and practice while lobbying for service delivery (water, refuse, health) and housing among others.
This is the same case with Gweru Residents and Ratepayers Association (GRRA) and Information for Development Trust (IDT) who held a meeting in Mkoba 1 at YWCA Hall recently, informing and educating residents on what they should enquire to the land developer when purchasing stands.
At the meeting, GRRA Executive Director, Cornilia Selipiwe stated with concern that residents should be aware of dubious land barons who are allocating unsuspecting home seekers land in wetlands and river banks.
“Residents should be aware of what is happening, particularly when purchasing stands. They should not fall prey to unscrupulous land developers. When purchasing a stand residents should question the land developer.
“When you buy a stand from the land developer you must expect everything to be in order but the challenge we are having is we are on our own at the mercy of the property developers,” he stated.
IDT National Coordinator, Tawanda Majoni said the councils should stop dishing out land to developers who go on to cheat innocent residents.
“We want council to stop parcelling out land to land developers. Council should service the land and sell to home seekers at affordable prices. These developers have duped a number of home seekers and we want this put to an end.”
At the same occasion, Gweru City Council’s Assistant Director of Engineering (Division of Town Planning) Tapiwa Marerwa stated that, when buying stands the first thing is that you must ask for the relevant papers from the seller.
“These should then be verified with relevant authorities which may be Council, Registrar of Deeds, Surveyor General or Urban State land Office,
“Every resident who wishes to buy land must ask for the following documents and information, which is the proof: for private land proof of ownership in the form of a title deed, for government or council land valid offer/allocation letter and agreement of sale between government or council and the seller (in their name), on private land approved subdivision permit- issued by the relevant authority, on state or council land approved layout plans have been approved,
“Approved survey diagrams from the surveyor general whether on private, government or council land, approved engineering designs for water, sewer and roads which would have been approved by council engineering department, approved infrastructure successfully implemented and approved on the site in the form of water, sewer and roads signed for by council, and certificate of compliance – issued by council certifying that 1- 5 above has been done to council’s satisfaction,” he said.
Engineer Murerwa said, “If they fail to produce these when you request them, put a big question mark. It is most likely that their project or development is not compliant and you might be tricked. Even if they try to persuade you that they will be done with all the paperwork soon, just walk away.”
Recently, the Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities Hon. Daniel Garwe who toured Ascot Extension, Tinshel, Woodlands and Nashville suburbs said the local authority should start identifying alternative places to relocate residents in wetlands.