Home seekers, especially those in the Diaspora, are losing thousands of dollars to bogus land developers, who are selling non-existent residential stands after using social media to post beautiful pictures of completed houses and images of road construction. The latest scam involves the illegal sale of stands at Eyestone Farm, which is wholly owned by Harare City Council, where conmen are portraying the area as a developed area with beautiful houses.
The bogus land developers are selling the non-existent stands for $12 000 for 2 000 square metres and to sweeten the deal, home seekers are being made to pay a deposit of $1 200 and pay the balance over 60 months.
The city has not serviced land for residential stands for the past 20 years, creating room for unscrupulous land barons to exploit and swindle desperate home seekers.
Harare City Council's corporate communications manager Mr Michael Chideme confirmed that Eyestone was wholly owned by council and warned home seekers against purchasing land from any individual or organisation other than council.
"It has come to the attention of Harare City Council that there is an increase in the number of bogus land sellers, who are stealing from unsuspecting residents," he said.
"The bogus sellers are using social media to con members of the public.
"They use very beautiful pictures of completed houses and images of road construction.
"Harare City Council advises members of the public to always verify with council when they want to buy land for any development.
"Council offices are always open to assist residents making inquiries."
Mr Chideme said council was deeply worried with the huge amounts of money which the public was losing to the bogus land dealers.
He urged home seekers who were duped to report any such activities to the police so that the perpetrators were brought to book.
"Council is also reporting to the police any individuals selling municipal land without council authority," said Mr Chideme.
"For the record, council does not contract third parties to sell housing land on its behalf."
Early this year, council said it was targeting to deliver 20 000 serviced residential stands to people on the housing waiting list in line with provisions of the country's economic blueprint, Zim-Asset.
These stands are being parcelled out at Eyestone Farm, Mabvuku, Churu Farm, Kuwadzana, Budiriro and Warren Park.
Harare also introduced a new housing policy, which saw the local authority disbanding existing cooperatives, with all former members of housing cooperatives incorporated into council-managed pay schemes.