Mutare in 6 000 squatters headache
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.”