Mutare in 6 000 squat­ters headache

The Manica Post - - Front Page - Abel Zhakata Se­nior Re­porter

MUTARE City Coun­cil has en­gaged its par­ent min­istry for help to evict more than 6 000 fam­i­lies il­le­gally set­tled in Dangamvura and Chikanga high-den­sity sub­urbs, pos­ing se­ri­ous health haz­ards.

At an ex­plo­sive full coun­cil meet­ing held at the Civic Cen­tre on Wed­nes­day, the city fa­thers – who ini­tially quar­reled on what ac­tion to take to evict the squat­ters – agreed that mu­nic­i­pal police of­fi­cers were no match for the cheeky il­le­gal set­tlers who once trounced coun­cil cops some years back in sim­i­lar cir­cum­stances.

Al­though coun­cil was granted a court or­der to evict the squat­ters on health grounds, the lo­cal author­ity is hes­i­tant to ex­e­cute it.

Mayor, Coun­cilor Ta­tenda Nhama­rare, said en­gag­ing the Min­is­ter of Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Pub­lic Works and Na­tional Hous­ing, Cde Saviour Ka­sukuwere was the only way out of this mess.

“If we re­call we since agreed that my­self and the town clerk must go and seek au­di­ence with the Min­is­ter over the Fed­er­a­tion Hous­ing Scheme with the hope that UDCORP might come and help us out. It’s pru­dent for us to pur­sue that meet­ing with the Min­is­ter,” he said.

Cham­ber sec­re­tary, Mr Cephas Vuta, said coun­cil must act quickly to re­solve the hous­ing mis­nomer.

“We have got an evic­tion or­der to evict those peo­ple in Dangamvura but that ap­pli­ca­tion was based on pub­lic health grounds be­cause as a lo­cal author­ity we have a duty to make sure that there is no dis­ease out­break. The sit­u­a­tion there (in Dangamvura) or even in Chikanga is a po­ten­tial health haz­ard and so those were the grounds on which we went to the High Court. It doesn’t mean that we are pay­ing a blind eye to their plight to say they are home­less but the chal­lenge with il­le­gal set­tle­ments is that it is dif­fi­cult for coun­cil to give them free ac­com­mo­da­tion

“If we evict those in Dangamvura I am not sure if coun­cil has an al­ter­na­tive place to set­tle them, but when it comes to pub­lic health is­sues coun­cil must act be­cause if there is a dis­ease out­break the Gov­ern­ment will also de­scend on us to

◆ From Page 1 say what were we do­ing about it.

“So it’s a chicken and egg story. If we evict where are we tak­ing them? Do we have the re­sources to do that? That is why his Wor­ship is talk­ing of in­volv­ing the min­istry be­cause we can­not solve those is­sues as coun­cil alone. Coun­cil must come up with modal­i­ties that if we evict them, what next?” he said. Coun­cil­lor Thomas Nyamu­pane­dengu said he was sur­prised why they were still dis­cussing the mat­ter yet they re­solved long back that the Mayor and Town Clerk were sup­posed to en­gage the Min­is­ter over the is­sue. “We gave you a task to see the Min­is­ter long back and are you telling us that the task has not been acted on? Ar­range as soon as pos­si­ble to see the Min­is­ter.”

Coun­cil­lor Wellington Zam­bezi said coun­cil must give it­self a time frame to solve this is­sue which has been drag­ging for years.

“We can spend the whole day talk­ing about this is­sue but what is im­por­tant is that we need to give our­selves a time frame that guides us in speed­ily re­solv­ing this case. As a coun­cil­lor I don’t feel re­spon­si­ble when I see some peo­ple be­ing evicted be­cause it shows that as city fa­thers we have a chal­lenge to pro­vide enough stands to res­i­dents. It shows that we have no enough land to ac­com­mo­date this peo­ple. Let’s work on our mas­ter plan and en­sure that we get more land to ac­com­mo­date peo­ple,” he said. Deputy mayor Coun­cil­lor Collins Muk­wada said: “Let’s not make a moun­tain out of an anthill. Let’s stand by what the Mayor has said that he will travel with the Town Clerk and meet the Min­is­ter over the is­sue and they will give us feed­back we don’t want to waste time.”

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