Illegal settlements are mushrooming between Hatfield and Epworth in Harare, prompting the city council to warn those building on undesignated land that they risk losing their money as the structures would be demolished.Council authorities have said they will soon carry out demolitions of illegal structures sprouting around the city.
Illegal settlers have set up structures near and around the preserved balancing rocks between Epworth and Hatfield, which are a tourist attraction and used to feature on the Zimbabwean currency.
The unplanned settlements are concentrated on wetlands.
Harare’s Environmental Management Committee chairperson, Councillor Christopher Mbanga, said people who had erected illegal structures should approach council before their homes are demolished. The city is also set to demolish more than 300 structures illegally built in Glen Norah after serving the settlers with 48-hour eviction notices. Some illegal housing structures have already been demolished in Chitungwiza and parts of Seke communal lands.
“That exercise is merciless. We have to restore order in the city,” said Mr Mbanga. “We cannot allow people to continue abusing wetlands.
They are our sources of clean water. The clear message to all would be developers, be it business or housing cooperatives, is that they have to visit the relevant council offices starting with district offices where the development is taking place.
“It is no excuse for anyone to first break the law and try to get sympathy after the act. No one in Harare is allowed to construct any structure within the city without getting approval from the city.”
Mr Mbanga said council would not entertain illegal activities as the city was not a village where people could build without approved plans.