No going back on demolition of illegal structures

HARARE - The Harare City Council (HCC) has said there is no going back on the demolition of “illegal structures’’ in the capital city.

HCC spokesperson Michael Chideme said the demolitions were meant to pave way for sustainable development.

The exercise will also help the municipality in its bid to execute the capital city’s master plan.

“Whoever is occupying land illegally will be removed. This time there is no mercy,” Chideme told the Daily News on Sunday.

“People have always been benefitting from those cries when demolitions occur. They say that council is being insensitive but they should understand that the cruel one is the land baron who is selling them land that does not belong to them and duping them of their hard-earned money.

“We will not spare anyone. The moment we start recusing people, it means that we are distorting the land use of Harare - you are building a church or school where it is not allowed. We will end up creating confusion and chaos by allowing the regularisation of invaded land.”

This comes as HCC is grappling with land invasions by numerous churches building illegally on council land and individuals selling council land without permission.

“Bottom-line is, people are being duped and we are concerned that money is being exchanged in the wrong hands. If there are council employees who are also involved in illegal transactions, they should be named and shamed.

“It should also be proven that they are involved because it is one thing to accuse and another to prove whether one is guilty or not,” Chideme said.

He added that land barons are preying on the gullibility of residents to make a quick buck.

Chideme said: “We are not lacking in enforcement, but what is lacking in the people is that people are very gullible and are falling for anything that anyone says to them.

“We are giving warning to the people that whenever you want to buy land, verify with council; whenever you see an advert for land, verify with council so that you do not lose your investment.

“No one can have title deeds over council land. People should not be duped by the fancy houses on websites or social media pages and the construction vehicles,” he said.

The latest wave of illegal council land sales is in Eyestone, where some land barons have falsely claimed they have title deeds for the properties. The barons are selling the residential stands at $12 000 for 2 000 square metres.

Harare has over 100 illegal settlements of organised housing cooperatives that have invaded wetlands, council paddocks and areas designated for schools, home industries, clinics and hospitals.

According to a schedule released by council in 2016, there are 128 cooperatives dotted around the city in Mabelreign, Mabvuku, Mufakose, Glen Norah, Glen View, Budiriro, Warren Park, Kuwadzana and Kambuzuma.

The illegal settlements sprouted because bogus land developers were selling council, State and privately-owned land using names of political bigwigs.

The land invaders invoke names that rouse nationalist fervour such as Takaitora Nyika, Dare-Rechimurenga, Chimurenga Takarwa, Zvido Zvemagamba, Taitikutamba, Ibola Egedini and Chinos and Patel.

Between September and December 2015, HCC demolished over 200 illegal structures across the city and helped arrest land barons implicated in the property invasions.

Comments (1)

But council was there when the so called land barons marshalled that land to desperate urban home seekers;it was in their eyes& well reported to them-Whats wrong with this Mugabe gvt & its urban councils- so corrupt &sleeping on duty;they must b fired come elections 2018

addmore gudo - 27 August 2017

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