THE government has continued with demolitions of illegal structures in Harare with bulldozers yesterday descending on Glen View suburb, ignoring pleas by the ruling Zanu PF party to halt the ongoing exercise.
The demolitions started a few weeks ago and has seen the flattening of illegal structures in Mashonaland East and Harare’s Mbare suburb, among other areas, courting criticism and outcry from affected families, political parties, residents associations and small-scale traders.
In Glen View, the demolitions targeted structures within 100 metres from the main road at Area Eight industrial site, affecting at least 5 000 people, who earn a living through manufacturing furniture and selling hardware materials.
Most of the affected people cried foul, saying authorities should have at least given them another chance as they had no other means to make money, raising fears this could result in an increase in criminal activities by individuals who have been rendered idle.
“Instead of destroying our workplace and leaving us to die from hunger, the authorities must provide a safe space where we can conduct our businesses legally without fear of being chased away.
“We have nowhere to go and no means of getting any kind of income now, there is no employment out there and this business was our only way of feeding our families.
“There is likely going to be an increase in robberies, now that a number of people are now out of employment.
“We had found activities that did not involve using drugs in this industry, only to be chased away by the government.
“They say they are fighting drug abuse yet they are causing it; how do they expect youths to quit drug abuse when they are just sitting at home,” one of the carpenters, Tatenda Machiko, told the Daily News yesterday.
Last week, at least 1 000 homes at Diamond Park in Melfort, Mashonaland East, were also destroyed after the developer was accused of grabbing land belonging to Goromonzi Rural District Council.
Ironically, most of the Diamond Park residents were linked to the ruling party as the project was being run by Zanu PF youths.
Speaking during a press conference at the ruling party’s headquarters in Harare on Monday, Zanu PF secretary for administration Obert Mpofu said the party was against the current demolitions.
“The party has been very concerned about the inhuman on-going demolitions of houses alleged to be illegal.
“As you are all aware, there …. on-going demolitions in Mashonaland East province, Melfort area, in the past week and other parts of Harare which have led to unwarranted loss of shelter and income to the affected families.
“The party and its president, the first secretary, Emmerson Mnangagwa as well as the entirety of the leadership of the party, uphold the right to shelter, as such the current unwarranted demolitions in urban … areas must stop immediately while processes to resolve the associated challenges are in motion,” Mpofu said.
The former Mines minister cautioned individuals and lands barons who continue to illegally parcel out State and council land without proper documents.
“We have warned and continue to warn individuals engaging in land baron activities who are involved in the illegal parcelling of out of State and council land without authority to stop it immediately.
“We call upon the law to take its course for no-compliant individuals.
“The party … was informed that the developers for the Melfort area … Rodgers Pote, Arthur Chideme and Life Machingura of Vintage Property and East Winds Association fraudulently acquired a development permit and this position was affirmed by the court on December 24, 2020.
“This nullified all the activities which were done under this developer.
“Meanwhile, the party supports the on-going regularisation programme of residential stands across the nation to mitigate housing shortages and is being undertaken by the ministry of Housing,” Mpofu said.