HARARE - Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo has ordered the Harare City Council (HCC) to terminate C&M Golf Range’s lease in the capital to pave way for the construction of a hotel.
The controversial decision comes as facility co-runners Ernest Madziro and Emerson Chitakatira — the first black president of the Zimbabwe Professional Golfers Association — say they have a valid lease until October 2022.
However, HCC chamber secretary Josphine Ncube on Wednesday said C&M must vacate the Samora Machel Avenue facility in Eastlea.
“On 12 February 2013, the Minster… Ignatius Chombo, directed council to sell stand 19713 Harare township to facilitate the construction of an international hotel,” read the letter.
“In these circumstances, City of Harare now gives your company its notice of the cancellation of the lease agreement and notice to vacate the premises within three months from the date of receipt of this letter,” Ncube said.
This is despite the fact that council on October 03, 2001 entered into a lease arrangement with the popular joint and East24 restaurant for the lease of stand number 13431 for a period of 25 years and which was to run until 2022.
On April 19, Chombo — recently in the headlines for his populist move to quash outstanding utility bills countrywide — directed Muchadeyi Masunda’s Council to cancel the lease agreement and the recommendation was adopted by the Council on May 2 this year.
Chitakatira’s son Richard yesterday said they “would do everything in their power to their family investment and legacy”.
“I know they want to use their political muscle, but we are ready (for the fight),” he said.
The development comes as the HCC in April unveiled plans for a multi-use project — promoted by Streamwalk Development — at the site.
In April, the Daily News also reported that the multi-million dollar hotel and conference facility was to run under the Hilton International (Hilton) brand, in a move that is expected to boost Zimbabwe’s hospitality sector.
The 96 000-square metre development will comprise a five-star 12-storey hotel, office block and two-storey retail centre.
“As the Harare City Council (HCC) — an ex-partner — has deliberated on the project, there is going to be a multi-use facility and complex around East 24 in Eastlea soon,” said a source familiar with the development then.
“From my understanding, there will be a 270-key hotel tower, five-storey office block and a two-storey shopping centre or zone,” they said.
Under the plan, Zimbabwean-registered Stream Walk is the developer, while Hilton will provide management services for the leisure facility and investment to rival many in the region.
Apart from conferencing and hotel facilities, the upscale development also includes a fitness centre, food court, a night club and other social amenities.
Thomas Muzuva, the HCC’s business committee chairperson, has said in recent months that the envisaged development was expected to boost Harare, if not the country’s economy.
“This is a positive move for the city and it will generate revenue for the council, considering the strategic location and nature of the hotel,” he said.
According to information at hand, the project promoters are also mulling another similar development in Victoria Falls.