Abigail Mawonde Herald Correspondent
Harare City Council has said it will move illegal settlers who have invaded Granville Cemetery and occupied land set aside for future graves. Desperate home-seekers have erected structures around the cemetery popularly known as Kumbudzi along the Harare–Masvingo Highway. In an interview with The Herald on Monday, city spokesperson Mr Michael Chideme said council was aware that some people had invaded the cemetery and was going to kick them out.
“The land that has been invaded is reserved for burial space,” he said. “The invaders have to move out. The city is very clear on the use of the land at Granville and does not tolerate the construction of houses on the cemetery space and any other land designated for other uses.”
Mr Chideme said it was only the responsibility of Harare City Council to allocate land for any purpose. “Even when it is for housing land, the city does not allow individuals to parcel out the land,” he said. “Allocating land in Harare is the responsibility of council.”
Mr Chideme advised people to follow proper channels when buying land by verifying its legality with council. “People buying land from individuals are doing so at their own peril,” he said.
“They are losing life-time investments on land that has not been planned for housing or that has not been allocated to them by council.”
Harare City Council last year demolished houses built on land procured illegally around the city, leaving hundreds of families homeless.
The mushrooming of illegal settlers has been blamed on land barons who parcel out stands to desperate home seekers and pocket the money, denying council much-needed revenue.