PROPERTY tycoon Philip Chiyangwa has told some 20,000 individuals allocated stands on three Harare farms he has been given by the government to each pay him $150 to begin negotiations or risk eviction.
If they all pay, the government bungle could see Chiyangwa pocketing about US$3 million before even selling the stands for which he is reportedly demanding US$4,000 apiece.
The development has outraged the settlers who say they had already paid in full for the stands, most claiming to have shelled out around $4,500 although no infrastructure has been developed.
“How can we continue paying money,” one Peter Rwizi complained to the State media.
“I paid $4,500 when I bought this stand in 2011, but now I am being ordered to pay an additional $4,000, for what?”
“Some of the people are failing to finish developing their stands because they do not have the money,” Margaret Dube told the Herald.
“So, where will they get the $4,000 being demanded now? This is unfair.”
The farms in question were compulsorily acquired from Chiyangwa’s Pinnacle Property Holdings by government which then allowed housing cooperatives to parcel out stands on the land.
But, in an out of court settlement, the government has returned the land to Chiyangwa’s firm.
The handover was confirmed by local government secretary Joseph Mhakayakora.
“The Government has resolved to return Ordar Farm to Sensense Investments (Private) Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Pinnacle Property Holdings,” the official wrote in a letter.
“Sensense Investments (Private) Limited will receive compensation directly from the occupants and pass ownership accordingly.”
Chiyangwa said it was not his problem that the settlers had been conned by dodgy developers.
Those who wanted to keep their stands must pay to him directly in order to get title deeds or risk removal.
“I am the one who approached the courts,” he said. “I am the owner of these farms and I do not know who these people paid money to.
“The farms belong to me and the people should not tell me what to do.
I never demanded $4 000. These people bought these stands from conmen and never bought any land from me.”