By staff reporter
WHITECLIFF residents, who illegally took possession of land owned by a real estate developer more than a decade ago, are now begging the government to pay the company the agreed fee to prevent their structures from being demolished.
The residents were settled on land owned by Eddies Pfugari Properties (Pfugari) over ten years ago with the blessing of the government.
Pfugari then got a High Court to evict them in 2017, but the government stepped in and vowed to compensate the company for the lost land as part of a deal that would prevent evictions.
However, the local government department responsible for the matter failed to deliver on its end of the bargain, leading the company to write to the police through their attorneys to request an escort from the deputy sheriff for expel them.
Vice President Constantino Chiwenga has promised the Whitecliff electorate that the government will compensate the landowner amid cheers and applause.
“We will negotiate with the owners of the land and no one will be evicted; the government will compensate Pfugari Properties, ”Chiwenga said.
However, recent events show that the government has reneged and reneged on its promise and the residents of Whitecliff find themselves facing imminent eviction.
Local councilor Luckson Maronga said residents expect the government to honor its pledge and that people will not be evicted.
“There could be a misunderstanding between the government and Pfugari Properties. The government is the one that negotiates on behalf of the people. As local leaders, we cannot blame Pfugari because it is their land. There is no free land in Zimbabwe. The government is the one that put the people here, so Pfugari is right that the authorities should charge their people. “Some people have already built properties; they want to protect their property. People are willing to pay, but Pfugari says the government is the one who put people here and should collect money from the people, ”he said.
At 71, Maxwell Goche said the uncertainty surrounding his time in the area made him sick because he had nowhere else to feel at home.
“We live in constant fear. The government should honor its promises and close this case. We live in constant fear of being evicted and depression makes me sick, ”he said.
Goche is among those who were installed by the government in 2005 through the Garikai / Hlalani Kuhle program.
Another resident, Charity Mudzi, 45, said: “All we want is to live in peace and without fear of eviction. The government just has to pay the business. We will then be able to negotiate the terms of payment with the government because the deadlines and figures requested by the company will be too long for us.