A 61-year-old woman from Bulawayo, Thembelani Ncube, is homeless after selling her house to invest in the Planet Africa housing project, initiated by Walter Magaya, the founder of Prophetic, Healing and Deliverance Ministries.
Ncube, who is also a member of the ministry, was enticed to sell her eight-roomed house in Nkulumane 5 in 2017, with the hope of residing in the promised estate house in Douglas Dale. According to Ncube, Magaya introduced the housing scheme to the church members in 2016. She shared her unfortunate situation in an interview with CITE. Ncube said:
I was a member at Walter Magaya’s Ministries for 10 years, he introduced a scheme where he was going to build houses and those who wanted to be part of the scheme were supposed to pay US$4 000, a fee towards the construction of a house, then when you are a resident in the estate, you will be paying a certain amount until your debt is finished.
Ncube revealed that she had also been involved in various investment projects introduced by the prophet. These included ventures in potato and onion farming, beekeeping, and solar drying of fruits and vegetables. However, when it came time to collect the profits from the farming projects, they were instructed to switch their focus to mining instead. Furthermore, as part of the housing project, they were shown a housing estate with around 1,500 houses and presented with images of the envisioned ideal homes. She said:
All I want is my house or my money which I will use to buy a house because this is time wasted, from 2017 to now the money has depreciated in value, and I have no place to stay.
I have reported the issue to the police but they tell me, ‘anosunga Magaya ndiani’, they are not taking my issue serious and they are telling me to group with other people but I don’t know anyone involved as I was doing most of the things alone.
The police went to Umguza Rural District Council and they said they were told that there is no such housing scheme. They further referred the police to Mhlahlandlela. The police also told me that the company is in Harare. All I want is my money, I don’t even want to go to Harare.
I believed this person and didn’t think he would do me like this hence I sold my house alone, when I left my house, I told my neighbours that I was going to stay at Douglas Dale, I didn’t even send my goodbyes to other neighbours and sold all my property.
Ncube said that her relationship with her two children has been strained since she sold their house. She expressed her frustration at the difficulty in reaching out to Magaya due to protocol, noting that his relatives working in the Bulawayo branch of the church no longer send her greetings after she started demanding her money. Additionally, she mentioned that the church officials in Bulawayo claim to be addressing the issue of title deeds, despite the fact that they had already paid the legal fees. Ncube also expressed concern about her investments in other projects, specifically mentioning that the bees died without any communication from the church, despite the leader’s claim of transparency. Adding to her troubles, she revealed that she is a member of the IR (Investor Relations) department.
A senior church official in Bulawayo clarified that residential stands in Douglas Dale are available but not fully developed due to insufficient funds. They denied compelling anyone to sell their property, emphasizing that the stands were unserviced. Financial constraints arose after the 1:1 dollarization. She said:
The ministry never asked anyone to sell nor did the prophet, the stands are still there but the servicing is not done because of financial constraints as most of the people didn’t finish paying their instalments.
The official confirmed that once the houses are completed, Ncube and others will benefit, as they are actively seeking an investor. They mentioned that there are 910 stands available, with around 700 people already involved and an additional 200 available. They expressed the intention to find an investor to facilitate progress in the project.