Harare City Council has embarked on a blitz to raze down make shift homes and tuckshops in its latest attempt to rid the city of what government claims are illegal structures, reminiscent of the tragic ‘operation murambatsvina’.
State media reports that over the past two weeks, Harare City Council has been demolishing illegal structures in Waterfalls and Hatfield. Those in Eyestone, Harare South, will be spared after residents there obtained a High Court order in their favour. For years, the city fathers have been battling with illegal settlements and structures with those behind the unauthorised constructions dragging them to court to resist demolitions.
Harare City Council spokesperson Mr Michael Chideme told state media journalists that the targeted structures violates the Urban Councils Act which prohibits erection of retail shops or makeshift homes in undesignated areas. “The City Fathers will not tolerate residents who continue to violate our bylaws. ‘‘An ultimatum was set last year and these tenants have been setting up illegal structures everywhere, with people failing to adhere to council regulations.
“The City Council has provided decent structures like those along Seke Road, Mupedzanhamo and Mukambo. People should relocate to those structures,” said Mr Chideme. Last week, High Court Judge, Justice Alphas Chitakunye granted an interim relief to residents of Eyestone Farm and barred Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere and the Harare City Council from evicting them in the absence of a court order.
The minister and the city fathers were ordered to provide adequate restitution for the destruction of homes for members of Harare South Housing Cooperative Society and Mvurachena Housing Cooperative.
“The first (Harare City Council) and second respondent (Minister of Local Government Public Works and National Housing) are hereby prohibited from further demolition of the first applicant’s (Mvurachena Housing Cooperative) members homes in Eyestone Farm in the absence of a competent court,” Justice Chitakunye ruled. It seems Harare City Council has failed to find a lasting solution to the illegal construction of dwellings. As a result, some land barons have been parcelling out council land.