BY JAIROS SAUNYAMA
SOME families who were affected by the construction of Causeway Dam outside Marondera have appealed to the government to reassess their properties following economic changes that have eroded their promised cash compensation.
The villagers, who have been moved to an alternative place in the same area, told NewsDay this week that the valuation of their properties was done two years ago when the country was still using the multi-currency system, hence the need to revalue it using the current interbank rate.
“In 2017, assessors came and promised to return after valuing our properties. They, however, returned on August 7 this year to notify each family of the value of their properties and the proposed compensation.
However, the compensation money is too low, with those who we know have valuables failing to score $50 000. The money we were given has also lost value. During the time of assessment, a bag of cement cost US$9
and it is now over $100. We urge the authorities to re-assess our properties using the current interbank rates since the assessment was done in US dollars,” one of the victims said.
The affected families have been resident in the area since 1989. Dam construction began in 2017.
According to government, the dam is expected to collect water this season upon its completion, hence the need to evacuate families.
The families, however, said the three months’ notice given to vacate their homes was too little, with some having been allocated stands at gumtree plantations that require intensive labour to clear for
The farmers were also ordered to destock because grazing land in the area they have been moved to cannot hold large heads.
“We were given three months’ notice to vacate. Some of the stands were pegged in some old gum plantations and there is need for more time to clear the land before one can construct. It is impossible; the time is too short. Each family was ordered to retain a maximum of five beasts,” one of the resettled villagers said.
The water body is being constructed across former Agriculture minister Joseph Made’s farms, namely Tara and Causeway in Masomera.
Mashonaland East Provincial Affairs minister Aplonia Munzverengi was not reachable for comment.
Marondera East legislator Patrick Chidhakwa said: “I heard they are to be compensated, but I am not aware of the amounts nor the complaints. They haven’t come to my office at all.”