Beauty Muchakazi Herald Correspondent
About 27 families were left homeless on Wednesday after Harare City Council demolished their illegal structures in Budiriro and Glen Norah. Council said the houses were constructed on State land reserved for other purposes. The victims bought the stands from a housing cooperative called Tembwe Housing Cooperative that started operating in 2010.
Some of the victims interviewed by The Herald said they were not aware that the land was not designated for residential purposes. Tembwe Housing Cooperative vice chairperson Mr Dominic Shuche alleged that there was corruption in the manner in which their houses were demolished.
He argued that other houses in the same cooperative were not destroyed, raising suspicion that there were some underhand dealings going on.
“I strongly suspect that there is corruption going on,” he said.
“How come that other houses in our cooperative were left out and you wonder which criteria they were using to conclude that our houses are illegal structures.”
Mr Shuche said it was surprising that council was declaring their stands illegal when they were helped by the same officials to lay water pipes in the area.
City of Harare principal communications officer Mr Michael Chideme said residents continued to disregard council’s call to avoid erecting illegal structures on State land.
Mr Chideme said the demolished houses were built at a piece of land that was designated for the construction of a school.
“The 18 structures that were destroyed in Budiriro were constructed on a site that was earmarked for a school,” he said.
“In Glen Norah, the cooperative members re-erected the illegal structures after the city council demolished them in August this year. This was done to make sure that we do not tolerate the construction of illegal structures in Harare.”
Mr Chideme said council had also issued 300 demolition orders at Ingwe Farm where people invaded council land designated for waste water treatment.