Some Pumula South residents in Bulawayo are in quandary over 163 houses that were constructed on land bought by Bopse Land Developers Construction Company from the Bulawayo City Council after the company was liquidated.
The liquidator Thabani Lihle Siziba and assistant master of the High Court, Njabulo Mabuya, have since challenged those who claim ownership of the houses to come forward with proof.
A senior official in Siziba’s office who asked not to be named said most of the residents claiming ownership of the houses were failing to produce documentation.
“We have asked them to produce documents so that we know who paid what and who owns the houses, but most of them are not coming, only a few have visited us,” the official said.
“When you go to some of those houses, you will find someone who will say he or she is only a tenant and is paying rent next door.
“When you ask next door, they tell you that they collect money for someone outside the country who did not even pay for the stand and its development.
“This clearly shows that ownership of some of these houses needs to be verified so that we know who owns what.”
The official said Bopse Land Developers acquired some land from council on December 2 2002 and serviced 381 residential stands.
Bopse then ran into financial difficulties, which saw it failing to develop the stands. One Stanford Nyoni and 380 stand holders indicated an interest to purchase the stands to build houses and Bopse prepared agreements of sale. According to court papers, each buyer was charged a fee for the preparation of the agreement of sale, inclusive of legal fees for the transfer of rights, title and interest.
They received written confirmation for satisfying all the council’s requirements.
The buyers were issued development permits authorising them to commence construction work on the surveyed land through their contract with Bopse Developers and council.
The official said the Bopse owner died before full payment was made to council with 268 properties having been transferred to the new owners.
This left 169 properties, which are now part of the liquidation.
The High Court granted a provisional order for the liquidation of Bopse on July 21 2007 before issuing a final order on March 4 2010.
The first meeting of creditors was held on May 12 2010 and Siziba was appointed liquidator.
“The residents led by Nyoni appealed at the High Court against liquidation in 2011 thereby halting the process,” the official said.
According to the liquidator’s report, High Court judge Justice Martin Makonese ordered that liquidation should proceed, but exclude the 381 stands as per the application made by Nyoni in a ruling on November 17 2011.