Gweru’s acting town clerk, Douglas Chikwekwe, has revealed that the local authority had received an order from Midlands Provincial Affairs minister Owen Ncube to stop parcelling out land in peri-urban areas.
Chikwekwe said Ncube expressed concern over land disputes in peri-urban areas before issuing the temporary ban.
“We have a letter from the office of the provincial minister, where he issued council with a temporary moratorium on land allocation in peri-urban areas,” Chikwekwe said at a recent full council meeting.
“The areas affected are those that border Vungu Rural District Council and Gweru City Council. We are talking of areas such as Hertfordshire and Woodlands.”
Chikwekwe, however, said council would continue with its new housing projects, including the one in Mkoba 21, which he said was not affected by the moratorium.’
Last December, Ncube threatened to name and shame suspected land barons and local authorities conniving to rip off desperate home-seekers through setting up dubious housing schemes.
Ncube said his office would probe suspicious land deals in both urban and rural councils to ensure transparency in the allocation of residential stands.
Meanwhile, mayor Charles Chokozho said council had not exhausted the $2,6 million fund it received from the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration for road rehabilitation programmes because some contractors’ tenders were yet to be approved.
“We may fail to utilise all the funds because some tenders have not yet sailed through,” Chikozho said.
The Midlands capital has a road network of over 1 200km, but council only managed to rehabilitate 27km of the city road network.