Lungile Tshuma Sunday News Correspondent
SCORES of Filabusi residents had their Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle houses sold without their consent by some district officials, a development which has sparked an outcry from residents who now co-own houses, investigations have revealed.Depending on the state of the house, the two-roomed houses were reportedly being sold at $5 250.
Sources told Sunday News the partly finished houses were allegedly sold by officials from the district public works department.
Residents, some of whom reside in Insiza South, said they were shell-shocked after they discovered that they co-owned their houses with “strangers”.
“I have been paying my rates to the council every month. I did not have enough money to extend the house, hence I have been paying rates with the aim that my children will extend the house,” said Mr Thabani Moyo from Silalatshani.
Mr Moyo said he only discovered that he co-owned the house when he wanted to extend it.
Said Mr Moyo: “After talking to my children who are working in South Africa, I then had to extend the house but what happened is, I found that there was someone who was staying in my house. The person had already put the roof. To my surprise, he told me that he bought the house.”
In a telephone interview from Filabusi, another affected resident Mr James Mangena said he got a tip-off from some officials in the district council which then led him to confront the person who was staying in his house.
“I got a tip-off and this helped me because it was going to take time to discover the scandal. The truth of the matter is that many people who were given those houses have not completed developing them, which includes roofing and extending.
“People then took advantage of that and started selling houses. The person, who bought my house told me that he paid R35 000. I saw it wise to confront the person and try to get the money because taking him to court might take time and he might not get his money back,” said Mr Mangena, who fumed throughout the interview.
Contacted for comment, Insiza South Member of Parliament Cde Malaki Nkomo confirmed receiving reports from villagers and pledged to assist them in solving the case.
“Certainly that is not double allocation,” said Cde Nkomo. “These are certainly thieves and if there are more people with such cases they must come forward so that we can take measures to deal with them.
“Houses were meant to benefit people through giving them accommodation. Such dubious acts are not tolerated at all. That is bad and we will deal with it.”
Also confirming the development was an official from district civil service department who said a report was made and the responsible authority to comment was the public works department.
“The issue you are talking about is very sensitive. A report was produced and the responsible office that can give you a comment is the public works department,” said the inspector who preferred anonymity.
Acting provincial planning officer Mr Joseph Ziki also confirmed that people now co-owned houses. However, he denied that officials from his office were the ones who sold the houses.
“People are truly co-owning houses,” he said. “There are people who illegally took partly developed houses. It is not officials from my office.”