Innocent Ruwende Senior Reporter
Harare City Council has regained control of Carter and Paget houses in Mbare 10 years after it lost them to an infamous violent outfit called Chipangano.
The city lost over $3,6 million in revenue during the years when the buildings were under the control of Chipangano, whose leaders pocketed all the money paid by tenants.
Last year, the city approached the High Court seeking an order to evict members of the Solomon Tawengwa Housing Co-operative from Carter House.
The buildings were reclaimed during a council and Government operation to bring order and sanity to the city, which also saw the demolition of illegal structures that were congesting the city’s oldest suburb. The demolition of illegal structures would pave way for affordable workshop and vending spaces, and sustainable accommodation in a healthy and clean environment. Town clerk Eng Hosiah Chisango confirmed the development in an interview yesterday, saying the city was continuing with its programme to bring in sanity across the city.
“The City of Harare has taken control of Carter House and Paget House after the clean-up that we are carrying out.
“It’s a process that is continuing. We are saying people should move from all illegal places to those designated for vending and other types of business,” he said.
“We have also appealed for partnerships because we need a lot of resources to revamp all our bus termini and markets that have been cleared. We are saying those who can come on board you can come and invest and get your money from the revenue accrued or through advertising.”
He said before the invasion, council was raking in $900 daily from farmers who wanted overnight accommodation from the two buildings.
Eng Chisango said for the past 10 years council was not getting anything from the two buildings and as a result the city lost revenue of over $3,6 million after people just moved in and started abusing the facilities.
“Now we need to refurbish those buildings and return them to their original use so that we can be able to get more revenue for the city. We are proceeding with the clean-up because we want to make sure that all places are secure so that in case of disasters like fire, our fire tenders can access all areas,” he said.
“Yes, we need to clear all the markets to make sure that we reorganise the vendors. If you look at the Machipisa Shopping Centre for example, we also have a lot of illegal activities in front of shops, but there is a market behind those shops. We are saying people should move to those designated places.”
He said the city will also be embarking on an exercise to remark bus lanes in the city centre to ensure order.
“We are currently using our own resources, but we are asking corporates to chip in,” he said.