By Munesu Nyakudya
Businessman Billy Rautenbach suffered a heavy setback in his fight for ownership of Aspindale 48 and 49 in Kambuzuma after one of the cooperatives won its case against him at the High Court recently.
The Leopold Takawira Housing Cooperative, one of various such associations in Aspindale 48 and 49, won their case against him after the High Court ruled that their offer letter cannot be cancelled and supersedes Rautenbach’s claims.
The Aspindale land battle has already drawn in various top ZANU PF officials that include Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, Harare State Minister Oliver Chidawu and Local Government Minister July Moyo, MDC Alliance’s Willias Madzimure and Norton’s independent legislator Temba Mliswa.
Commenting about the verdict Mliswa, who was roped in by a combined association of various cooperatives in the area to assist them fight the land baron and his alleged political connections, alleged to include Minister July Moyo and Minister Chidawu, said it was a harbinger of good things to come.
“Good news for Aspindale 48 and 49 is that Leopold Takawira Cooperative won their case against Billy Rautenbach. The court declared that their offer letter cannot be cancelled”.
“Justice will be done, he has lost 2 cases now, and the other involved Wadzanai Housing Cooperative”.
“Joshua Nkomo Cooperative will also win their case against him these judgements set a precedent that the land belongs to them”, he said.
Mliswa dismissed the current ongoing tarring of roads by Rautenbach saying the developmental moves meant nothing.
“He does not own anything and cannot make money in such a criminal way. He will never enjoy it”, he added.
Rautenbach claims ownership of the area following the cancellation of an offer letter that had been given to the cooperatives by government during the tenure of former Local government Minister Saviour Kasukuwere.
New Minister July Moyo then reversed the move, cancelling the offer letter and paving the way for Rautenbach to come in with plans for a medium density suburb, leaving the residents in the open.
Rautenbach allegedly plans to create a suburb that is similar to another one he has already built adjacent Aspindale 48 and 49 along the High Glen Road near Kambuzuma.
The gated community there is selling for steep prices which many residents have cited as too high for them.
The Aspindale land issue already has political undertones with some cooperative members who are also part of ZANU PF alleging that they have been ordered to stay away from Mliswa and Madzimure, who are trying to deal with the issue.
The residents however feel that their own political leaders have abandoned them and even sold out to Rautenbach.