BY BLESSED MHLANGA
GOVERNMENT yesterday said demolitions of illegal settlements will continue and told residents that have received eviction notices from councils to seek alternative shelter.
Addressing a press conference, Local Government minister July Moyo, however, said Harare City Council should not execute the nearly 30 eviction orders from the courts until after the rainy season.
“All those who have been given eviction orders should know that these eviction orders are legal instruments and therefore cannot be defied by individuals,” Moyo said.
“As government, because we uphold the rule of law, unless individuals have gone to court to rescind these court orders, those court orders will be effected at the appropriate time.”
A total of 134 families were left homeless in Budiriro, Harare, after council demolished illegal structures under Tembwe Housing Cooperative. Moyo said at the end of the rainy season, the demolitions would resume.
“That appropriate time obviously must take advantage of a situation where there is no rain.
“We don’t want as government to throw people in the rain. Those evictions that have taken place, people cannot go back and build on the same places, they should be relocated so we can regularise the place they have been evicted from.”
He said further evictions will be directed by the central government.
“The Harare City Council is the one that applied for those evictions, they got court orders. It is only the timing that we are now saying; don’t carry out the rest of the evictions until there is an appropriate time when there is no rain.
“They (council) will be working with the Harare Metropolitan government which is led by the Minister of State. The law enforcement agencies will be supporting the government in order to make sure that the demolitions are done in an orderly manner. We must respect the court rulings,” he said.
National Housing minister Daniel Garwe warned, desperate homeseekers to stop dealing with land barons.
“What is obtaining now is the land barons who grabbed that land and paid nothing, in this case, are telling people lies, they are saying go and build and build as quickly as possible so that the ministry can come and regularise,” Garwe said.
“Those are false statements; we are not going to listen to that. People must not be in complicity with land barons because if you buy stolen property, at law, you are in complicity and you also suffer the criminal consequences like the land baron. We want to provide order in the cities, provide in towns and in the country.”
“We have witnessed situations particularly in Harare, where council officials and councillors have been selling land illegally to desperate homeseekers, areas set aside for schools, clinics, recreational facilities, roads and sewer, people are being sold those stands. All those settlements are illegal, they will remain illegal and they will be demolished. We want to be very categorical on that, land barons will not remain with any land as the land belongs to the State,” he said.
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