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4 000 Civil Servants Set To be Evicted From Whitecliff

Four thousand (4 000) Whitecliff residents, mostly civil servants illegally settled at the private farm in Harare in 2006 are set to be evicted after the Government failed to honour its promise to pay US$44 million to the property owner.

The evictions are to take place by April 2024.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with The Mirror, the owner of the 1 065.7 hectare farm, Edward Nyanyiwa Pfugari (Junior) said there is no going back on the evictions.

The farm was compulsorily acquired by the Government in 2006 and subdivided and distributed for free among 4 000 civil servants and other people by the then Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Ignatius Chombo.

Eddies Pfugari Properties contested the compulsory acquisition in the High Court and Supreme Court and won back the farm.

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The company then obtained an eviction order for the 4 000 illegal settlers from the Supreme Court but the Government offered to pay Pfugari US$44 million for the property so that the residents would not be evicted.

Beneficiaries have hitherto been told that the land belongs to the Government and their tenure is secure.

However, some residents who tried to get title deeds for the stands from the Ministry of Local Government were told that the titles could only be obtained from Pfugari who is the legitimate owner of the land.

The eviction order given by Justice David Mangota is against the Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement and all parties claiming occupation through him. Part of the eviction order reads:

Now therefore, you are required and directed to eject the said Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement and or all persons claiming occupation through him, their goods and possession, from and out of occupation and possession whatsoever of the said premises, and to leave the same to the end that the said Pfugari Properties may peacefully enter into and possess the same.

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Pfugari told The Mirror that the decision to carry out the evictions followed numerous false promises by the Government to compensate him for his land. He said:

We agreed with the Government in 2019 for a settlement of US$44 million so that it could take the farm and secure the tenure of the civil servants. However, we have been waiting for years for the payment but nothing is coming.

When we put pressure to get the money last year, the Government offered a downpayment of US$21 million but turned around and said they could only pay US$2 million which is a slap in the face.

Our board of directors for Eddies Pfugari Properties therefore resolved that we immediately evict the illegal settlers and retain our land and this we will do in the next few weeks.

The court order from Justice Mangota is clear about this and the Sheriff will use the Police to effect the eviction.

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Some residents have formed the Whitecliff South Residents Association (WSRA) and approached Pfugari Properties with an offer to pay for their stands.

WSRA chairman Maxwel Gwatire confirmed to The Mirror the formation of the association and said engaging Pfugari is the right and legal thing to do. Said Gwatirere:

We went to the Ministry of Local Government and were told by various senior officials including Engineer Nhoro in no uncertain terms that the land belongs to Pfugari and not the Government. They told us that we could only get the title deeds to the stands from Pfugari.

We have since sent emissaries to Pfugari in a bid to avert evictions and we understand he is willing to sell the land to us at US$5 per square metre and those with 300 m stands will pay US$1 500.

We have been lied to for 19 years that this is Government land. The problem is that the issue is being politicised for votes.

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Politicians lie to residents that the Government will ultimately give them the stands for free; it’s a lie.

Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi was telling residents recently that the Government will give Pfugari another piece of land somewhere and settle the matter. This again is a lie.

Gwatirere said WSRA already has 800 members and on Monday they are meeting Pfugari over the pending evictions in a bid to make a private settlement.

For feedback and comments, please contact ZiMetro News on WhatsApp: +27 82 836 5828.

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