The properties were acquired through a Chinese cement company – SINO – Zimbabwe Development Private Limited last year in October but the Chinese only took over management of the properties this year.
SINO – Zimbabwe is a joint venture company between a Chinese company and the Zimbabwe government through the Infrastructural Development Corporation (IDC).
The properties are in the exquisite suburbs of Borrowdale and Glen Lorne which are highly sought after prime property areas.
The Chinese bought Gecko Gardens located at number 306 Sunninghill Close in Glen Lorne. The gardens are made up of a restaurant, conference and accommodation facilities. Another property is the Highlands Park conference and functions venue located at number 1 Worpleston in Glen Lorne. The property, currently under renovations, is being used by the Chinese company to accommodate its Chinese workers.
The Chinese also snapped up a jackpot in the famous Imba Matombo private hotel which is located at 3 Albert Glen Close in Glen Lorne.
The other property now in the expanding Chinese property portfolio in Zimbabwe is Pangolin Lodge which is at number 54 Carrick Creagh Road in Borrowdale. The four properties which are worth millions of dollars, according to estimates from several estate agents are prime leisure locations in the capital.
During a visit to all the four properties by Radio VOP, workers at these prime locations confirmed that the Chinese company had taken over. Several cars with SINO-Zimbabwe inscriptions could be seen parked at Highlands Park during the visit.
A consortium of white businessman used to own the highly sought after properties in Harare.
The Affirmative Action Group (AAG), a Zimbabwean black empowerment group said there was nothing wrong with the Chinese buying property for as long as the move was not used for speculative purposes.
“They are spending their money and I actually don’t think there is anything wrong but they should not just buy what is available but also build because doing so would result in high property prices,” said AAG president Super Mandiwanzira.
But after being told the number of properties that SINO-Zimbabwe had bought, Mandiwanzira said, “It will be a problem if they are now in the business of buying a string of properties. We then need to understand why they are buying so many of them because that pushes out locals in the property market.”
Meanwhile the Parliament of Zimbabwe is planning an investigation into the operations of Chinese mining companies operating in north of the country in areas that are designated for wild life conservancy and safari.
The companies, San He Mining Company Private Limited Zimbabwe and Lebbenon Investments are mining in pristine land set aside for wild life conservancy.
The chairperson of the Parliamentary portfolio committee on Mines and Energy, Chindori Chininga told Parliament his committee was keen to visit the area.
The companies are said to be operating without Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) certificates.