Home » General » Chiyangwa, Harare City Council Settle Land Dispute

The long-running land dispute involving thousands of hectares in Harare pitting property magnate Dr Philip Chiyangwa and Harare City Council has finally come to rest after the parties struck a settlement.

Over the past years, council has been under immense pressure to reverse the land exchange agreement it entered into with Dr Chiyangwa’s company, Kilima Investments in 2007.

Council even sought the intervention of the courts to reverse the land swap deals, but lost.

This prompted council to engage Dr Chiyangwa and swayed him to agree to return the disputed properties for either cash payment or alternative land.

As a result, a deed of settlement that culminated in a consent order was hammered by both parties and subsequently granted by High Court judge Justice Happias Zhou.

The swap deals involved five pieces of land in different suburbs.

According to the consent order dated February 18 2015, the parties agreed that council would compensate Kilima for all the immovable property returned to the local authority.

The parties agreed that an industrial stand known as stand 389 Derbyshire , which has since been returned to council has a market value of $3 251 550 while Ballantyne property that is to be transferred back to council is valued at $1 000 000. This brings the total value of the two properties to $4 251 550 00. Instead of paying cash, council agreed to exchange the two properties with about 12 pieces of land with a combined value of $4 040 350, 50.

“The exchange of agreed value will leave the City of Harare indebted to Kilima in the sum of $211, 198. 50 (debts),” read part of the consent order.

In terms of the order, Kilima would cede the debt to CBZ Bank meaning that debts due to the company would now be owed by council to the bank.

“The parties acknowledge that CBZ Bank Limited has agreed to the cession and that the City of Harare will settle the debt by crediting CBZ bank’s City Rates Account,” read the order.

“Any amount due to CBZ Bank by Kilima above the sum of $211 198, 50 shall be paid exclusively by Kilima.”

Last year, Dr Chiyangwa won a High Court order compelling council to transfer properties to Kilima, or to pay him cash equal to the prevailing market value to reverse the deals.

Justice November Mtshiya, ruled that council breached its land exchange agreement with the businessman magnate and barred the local authority from selling or disposing of any of the properties at the centre of the dispute.

He ruled that council made an unlawful resolution to settle the deal by paying $17 000 and repossessing properties in Ballantyne Park at a meeting held in September 2012. At the time, Dr Chiyangwa argued that council had since 2007 been agreeable to the deal in terms of which he swapped an industrial property for residential stands.

He argued the council only made an about-turn at one of its meetings held on September 12 2012.

He accused council of breaching the rules of natural justice and fairness in the swap deals, when it sought to repossess the pieces of land it had ceded to Kilima.

Source : The Herald