Home » Judicial » Residents Gang Up On Deputy Sheriff

Hundreds of teachers and ordinary residents in the mining town of Mashava recently ganged up and resisted attempts by officials from the Deputy Sheriff to evict 40 teachers accused of failing to settle their rent arrears to Shabanie-Mashava Mines (SMM) dating back to 2009. Some of the teachers who faced eviction had reportedly stayed in the SMM-owned houses in Mashava for almost 20 years, but allegedly started defaulting on rentals when the country adopted the multi-currency regime.

The teachers from Temeraire Primary and Secondary, Gaths Mine and Mashaba Primary Schools, owe SMM amounts ranging from $5 000 to $10 000 in outstanding rentals.

Their rentals were reportedly $40 a month before recently shooting up to about $250.

Officials from the Deputy Sheriff yesterday wanted to evict the teachers after they lost a court battle against SMM in which they were contesting the decision to remove them from the mine houses.

There was drama in the mining town as ordinary residents including children and teachers confronted Deputy Sheriff officials who had started forcibly removing property from teachers’ houses around noon.

The residents and teachers managed to forcibly recover property that had been loaded into the Deputy Sheriff’s vehicles and returned it in the houses.

They stunned Deputy Sheriff officials, forcing them to abandon their mission as the restive crowd threatened to become violent.

Spokesperson for the affected teachers, Mr Nathan Ruzengwe, said they were not against the decision to evict them, but wanted proper procedures to be followed.

“We are not violent people and we will never engage in violence we are peaceful people but we feel that the way the mine (SMM) management wants to treat us unfair. It is not true that we have reneged on payment of rentals, they are just trying to find excuses to evict us from the houses but they should also look at some developments and improvements that we make on the houses,” he said.

“The affected people are teachers who have been playing a key role in improving the standards of education in Mashava town and it is not good to just chase them away like that,” he said.

Some of the affected teachers appealed to Government to intervene to break the impasse between them and mine management.

They claimed that some of them had no alternative accommodation hence the need for the parties to strike a compromise.

Sources in the mining town claimed that the push to kick the teachers out of SMM houses in Mashava was to create space for the fast-expanding Great Zimbabwe University that has already snapped up most houses turning them into halls of residents for students in the mining town.

Great Zimbabwe University signed a 10-year lease agreement that saw it acquiring most offices, houses and other buildings owned by the closed SMM mines. The mining town is now home to over 5 000 GZU students, a development that has caused high demand for accommodation.

Source : The Herald