Home » Legal and Judicial Affairs » Chi-Town Illegal Settlers Get Three Weeks to Vacate

Government has given illegal settlers in Chitungwiza and Seke communal lands three weeks to demolish and vacate their structures, while calling for the arrest of land barons who swindled home seekers of millions of dollars.

Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo last week said the people had exposed themselves to varying degrees of danger by settling on wetlands, municipal servitude lines, and too close to high voltage power pylons.

An audit of land management and allocation in Chitungwiza and Seke revealed that more than 14 000 residential stands were illegally allocated in the two areas.

Of these, 8 260 stands are in Chitungwiza and 6 200 are in Seke under Manyame Rural District Council.

The land was reserved for clinics, churches, schools, cemeteries, recreational facilities and roads.

“What human rights are those when some people intentionally settle and expose themselves and society at large to inevitable catastrophe, as some of our erstwhile detractors masquerading as gurus of human rights upholders, would want us to believe?

“We categorically say no to this kind of upholding of human rights. In this connection let me here and now unequivocally pronounce that henceforth, we are giving all those improperly settled exactly three weeks to voluntarily relocate themselves, failure of which Government with assistance from police shall provide assisted exit,” Minister Chombo said.

He was speaking at the launch of the Housing Co-operatives Operational Framework and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Infrastructure Provision.

Environment, Water and Climate Minister Saviour Kasukuwere said Chitungwiza had 912ha of wetlands of which 723 had already been built on.

“Our ancestors used to grow rice in these wetlands but now we have replaced rice with houses. I know we all want land to build on but we should get land in appropriate areas.

“You have made money, yes you are a land baron but are you going to sleep well knowing that the people you sold land to are drinking sewer water? We must do things correctly,” he said.

Minister Kasukuwere urged the Environmental Management Agency officers to educate residents on wetlands preservation.

Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Deputy Minister Joel Biggie Matiza said there was rampant corruption in Chitungwiza with councillors passing irregular resolutions on land allocations.

“There was duplication of stand numbers and a lot of backdating of the waiting list. Barons had set up their own parallel council which was dishing out land and approving plans,” he said.

He said they had faced resistance from barons who were using their networks to stop demolitions.

Chitungwiza Town Clerk Mr George Makunde said more than 4 000 people in the town would be affected by the demolitions.

“We will institute measures to make sure that some form of restitution comes to council from the land barons,” he added.

Source : The Herald