Council property vandalised as illegal settlers dig in

Municipal Reporter=
The illegal settlers occupying Crowborough and Ingwe farms have vandalised Harare City Council’s property that includes pipes and gate valves after the city started pumping waste water onto the two farms to irrigate pastures.

The squatters claim the water poses a health hazard to them.

The move by the illegal settlers is meant to frustrate council, which has tried to evict them on several occasions without success.

Council warned the settlers, mid last year, against their continued stay on the farms saying it intended to pump waste water meant to irrigate the pastures.

It urged the settlers to move out to avoid contracting diseases like typhoid, cholera and diarrhoea, among others.

The city’s waste water engineer, Mr Victor Musikavanhu, yesterday said the rehabilitation of Crowborough Sewer Works was 70 percent complete but the illegal settlers were vandalising some of the equipment so that treated sewage was not pumped onto the grazing land they invaded.

“They have vandalised gate valves, pipes and chambers. The farms are for effluent irrigation.

“We were pumping effluent into sewage ponds and from there the effluent goes into the farm.

“The settlers vandalised our infrastructure so that the sewage cannot reach their illegal settlements,” he said.

Eng Musikavanhu said the plant, which has the capacity to treat 54 megalitres a day, was not functioning until rehabilitation started in 2010.

He said the plant was now treating 36 megalitres a day of effluent.

At least 83 illegal housing co-operatives invaded the two council farms occupying 80 hectares while several attempts to occupy Pension Farm were thwarted by Harare Water Loss Control and some individuals from the army.

It is believed that over 800 people erected structures on the two farms.

Council has warned that it would soon evict the invaders and destroy their structures at Crowborough and Ingwe farms, where the local authority plans to build new sewer ponds.

The city said the invaders were blocking council livestock from grazing and residents in areas such as Budiriro and Kuwadzana were now killing stray cattle in the area.

Council has five farms — Crowborough (1 204 hectares), Pension (800 hectares), Churu (264 hectares), Ingwe (1 400 hectares) and Porta (100 hectares).

Crowborough, Pension and Ingwe Farms have some cattle, while Churu and Porta are lying idle.

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