Local Government Minister July Moyo has seemingly moved to stop the demolition of over 11 000 illegal settlements in Chitungwiza after requesting a list of all illegal sites in the dormitory town.
Chitungwiza Council has been caught in massive corruption where councillors and management have been selling land illegally to desparate home seekers a move which has caused sprouting of houses all over the town.
This week a leaked memo from the Council listed over 11 000 settlements which Council aims to demolish.
The land which was sold belonged to council and the state.
However Government has requested for the list prior to any moves.
In a letter directed to the Town Mayor Lovemore Maiko, the Minister of Local Government and Public Works July Moyo said that the town has to cooperate with the office of the Provincial Development Cordinator.
“I wish to advise that the Provincial Developnment co-ordinator was carrying out his normal duties on the matters below
“The council has to supply a list of all sites to be demolished,” reads part of the letter.
The list have since come out and can be viewed here.
However Residents of Chitungwiza have called for the arrest of those who were selling land before demolishing houses.
“Before demolishing houses all those who sold land illegally should be arrested and compensate the victims rather than punishing desperate home seekers,” said Alice Kuvheya, the Director of Chitungwiza Residents Trust (CHITREST)
On 10 October 2020, the High Court ordered the Epworth Local Board (ELB) to stop demolitions citing section 74 of the Constitution which guarantees the right to shelter, and a law which requires local authorities to obtain a court order before demolishing illegal structures.
The judgement pointed out that land barons had taken advantage of desperate home seekers and that the ELB had turned a blind eye to the illegal structures mushrooming in the area.
“Having allowed these illegal settlements to take root, at the expense not only of the settlers but also of organized urban planning and public health, local authorities are now waking up and by force and power demolishing the structures without regard to the law and human dignity,” stated the judge.
In 2020 Harare City Council also torched a storm after it demolished houses which were illegally built in Budiriro.