CHRA unearths housing stands scandal in Warren Park
CHRA Info Dept
The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) has unearthed a residential stands scandal involving unscrupulous individuals working in cahoots with senior council officials in Warren Park 1.
The scandal involves the parceling out of infill stands at undesignated areas.Residents have since petitioned the Harare Mayor, Herbert Gomba, Town Clerk Engineer Hosiah Chisango, the area’s Councilor, Tichavona Mhetu, the Environmental Management Agency , and other senior council officials to act on the matter.
Residents have since petitioned the Harare Mayor, Herbert Gomba, Town Clerk Engineer Hosiah Chisango, the area’s Councilor, Tichavona Mhetu, the Environmental Management Agency , and other senior council officials to act on the matter.
Individuals named in the housing stands scandal include one Shezel Nyasha Simango (allocated Stand Number 10964 of 250), Mercy Murevesi (allocated Stand Number 10963 of 250), Melody Muchando (allocated Stand Number 10962 of 250) and Judith Mhlahleli who was allocated Stand Number 250.
There is a ZESA 11KV Transformer whose cables run underneath and feeds over 200 households including the local Suburban Hospital with electricity at the area where the housing stands are pegged. Information gathered shows that sometime in June 2019 one Thabitha Simango, who also uses the name Prettymore Tsiga and is related to the beneficiaries of the residential stands scandal came to inspect the undesignated area and this raised the suspicion of concerned residents.
Following enquiries from residents, the lady revealed that they had already paid for the stands at the open space and she boastfully told the residents that she was untouchable as she was heavily connected within council.
And in June, four residential stands were pegged at the undesignated site in June 2019. This prompted residents to approach council officials in a bid to enquire whether there had been a change of use of the land in question.
Their efforts were however in vain.
The residents then approached the area’s councilor, Tichavona Mhetu who arranged for a meeting with the then Acting Town Planner on July 23, 2019.
The Acting Town Planner agreed that the stands allocation was unlawful.
During the July 23 meeting, several irregularities were noted pertaining to the allocation of the housing stands.
- Allocation files for the said beneficiaries of the four infill stands which were availed to the Director of Housing and Community Services, Mr. Nhekairo by the District Officer, a Ms Kanojerera indicated that the files were signed for allocation by Dr. Nhemachena, the Chief Housing Management and Allocation Officer instead of Mr. Murevesi, the Deputy Director of Housing and Community Services.
- Mr. Nhekairo indicated that he was on leave and had assigned his deputy, Mr. Murevesi to act on his behalf. So naturally, it was Mr. Murevesi who should have been approached pertaining to the allocation of the housing stands and it boggles the mind why the process went through the office of Dr. Nhemachena.
- Offer letters for the housing stands are said to have been signed for in 2017 during which time Mr. Nhekairo was reported to have been on leave but in this case, surveying of the stands in question and subsequent pegging was done in June 2019 AND NOT 2017. FOOD FOR THOUGHT.
- The area’s District Officer, Ms. Kanojerera has on several occasions refused to entertain questions from residents on the allocation of the housing stands and this has raised the suspicion of residents regarding her involvement in the illegal allocation of the stands.
- Despite Correspondence from the Roads and Public Works Department to the effect that building on the area in question is halted, the beneficiaries remain adamant. We have attached the correspondence form the Roads and Public Works Department.
As CHRA, we were elated when Harare Mayor declared zero tolerance to corruption in his State of The City Address on October 29, 2019. We, therefore, urge him to walk the talk and ensure that culprits involved in this shady deal (including other deals involving illegal parceling of land, are brought to book).
We further call upon the Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission to investigate illegal land deals within Harare City Council.
We urge residents to remain steadfast and oppose any illegal housing developments in their areas.
*CHRA is set to hold a situational meeting in Warren Park where we will invite the area’s councilor, Tiichavona Mhetu, and senior council officials to explain the illegal housing stands allocation.
In his response to the scandal, Councilor Mhetu said, “Allocations of all the above stands was done in 2017 and construction started before the 2018 elections. I then went to enquire at the district office as a council aspiring candidate and I was told that everything was above board and the stands existed since the location was established but remained when allocation was done in the 80s.
After the 2018 elections, I went to the district office to authenticate the claim and I was shown a map that confirmed that indeed the stand numbers were just a continuation of the existing houses.
There was another incident again where stands were allocated on land that had a stormwater drain. Residents raised an alarm after a ZESA cable was mutilated by the builders. Residents called me and I went to address them and I told them that the best people to explain that is Director of works( planning) and Director of housing
- ( allocations).
The directors came and explained to the residents to which I asked residents to chose their representatives who would sit in the meeting with the director of works and housing. We went and successfully managed to reverse the offer letters and it was resolved that the beneficiaries be allocated elsewhere.”