Blessings Chidakwa Municipal Reporter
THE MDC-led Chitungwiza Municipality is set to demolish over 11 000 properties, including houses illegally built on wetlands, railway servitudes and sewer lines, a leaked internal memo shows.
Interestingly, the targeted houses were built on stands allocated by the MDC Alliance-led council, while others were parcelled out by land barons.
Houses to be destroyed, most likely just after the end of the rainy season, were built on unsuitable land, including over sewer lines and under Zesa power lines.
This will further expose the lies of MDC Alliance leader Mr Nelson Chamisa, who recently sought to blame the Government for demolitions when he visited families whose houses were demolished in Budiriro by Harare City Council, which is also MDC-dominated.
Illegal land allocation is rampant in Chitungwiza where houses and business premises are being built in the weirdest of places.
At Zengeza 4 Shopping Centre, popularly known as Pagomba, the foundation of a shop was dug over Zesa cables and a sewer line.
According to the leaked Chitungwiza Council memo dated January 12, 2021 written by the director of works Engineer David Duma to the acting town clerk, 40 sites had been identified for the demolition exercise.
Council however, said for demolitions to take place, court orders would be required to effect them in compliance with Section 74 of the Constitution.
“This memo serves to submit the list of proposed demolition sites derived from a meeting held on December 21 at 14:15 hours in the council chamber and chaired by Mr Mvere, the CSO.
“I cross-checked with the one earlier submitted by the housing department and they are similar in most respects. l have noted the absence of the commercial list,” he said.
Eng Duma said the list was being forwarded to the legal department to ensure that none of the structures to be demolished were protected by the Justice Amy Matsanga ruling last year or any other High Court ruling.
Following the demolition of at least 190 Budiriro houses, the Minister of State for Harare Metropolitan Province Oliver Chidawu said Government would not interfere in local authority affairs.
Among sites identified for demolition in Chitungwiza are about 9 500 stands under Nyatsime Housing Scheme which are said to have been illegally occupied without council approval.
There is also Unit A extension along the road to Unit H where the council said 160 properties were developed on a wetland designated as an open space.
A further 133 stands along a stream in Zengeza 4 near Pagomba and 57 others in wetlands in the same area would also have structures demolished.
The council also identified 23 stands in Unit J behind stands 6527-6544 located less than the 30 metres recommended for sewer lines and zesa cables.
Structures on 50 stands behind St Mary’s Police Station, encroaching a railway servitude line, also face demolition.
Chitungwiza Residents Trust director Ms Alice Kuveya said they were opposed to illegal demolitions.
“The Government is saying stay at home. People are dying and that is when the council has decided to put more stress to residents,” she said.
Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo said while the Government fully upheld the rule of law and did not interfere with the Judiciary and its orders, council should be sensitive in its timing when implementing court orders.
National Housing and Social Amenities Minister Daniel Garwe said according to the human settlement policy, there were selected areas that would be regularised, but not wetlands or areas that were set aside for social amenities.