The trial had been scheduled to kick off yesterday after it had been previously set for September 27.
Provincial magistrate Charity Maphosa, however, further deferred it to January 15.
Machaya pitched up at court without his Harare-based lawyers and when Maphosa queried their absence, the former minister said the legal practitioners had told him they were sending someone to represent him.
Gweru-based lawyer, Tonderai Chitere, later turned up and agreed with prosecutor Andrew Marimo to have the matter postponed to January 15.
Marimo told the court he was acting on instructions from the National Prosecuting Authority in Harare.
Machaya, who is on $1 000 bail, is facing various charges, including abuse of office. He stands accused of intentionally allocating State land (17 799 stands) to land developers, when it is the sole mandate of the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing.
Machaya, the court heard, further received 1 791 commonage stands from the said land developers, which constituted 18% of the total stands on the allocated State land.
It is further alleged he disposed of the 1 185 stands, which is inconsistent with his duties.
“Whereas commonage stands can only be allocated and distributed by the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, the accused person further allocated 192 commonage stands to Apostolic Christian Church of Zimbabwe, when he did not have lawful right or function,” reads part of the charge sheet.
Also facing similar charges are Mashonaland West provincial administrator Cecilia Chitiyo, Gweru district administrator Sheperd Marwei and five other senior government officials from the Ministry of Local Government.
Chitiyo (50), who is the former provincial administrator for Midlands, is being accused together with Matilda Manhambo (59), Sherpard Marweyi (48), Sifelani Moyo (59), Ethel Mlalazi (65), Chisainyerwa Chibhururu (47) and Everest Nyamadzawo (33).
The accused persons are all on $200 bail and will appear in court on a separate date.