More than 20 families in Budiriro 4 Extension were left homeless yesterday after the Harare City Council (HCC) demolished their structures, and the affected residents allege they were not warned of the action.
The HCC, however, said they obtained a court order to remove the residents who had illegally settled themselves on council land.
Some of the affected residents said they were shocked by the local authority’s “arbitrary” action.
Other residents whose houses were demolished allege that the land in question was at the centre of a dispute between two housing cooperatives and that yesterday’s demolitions were the third time that had happened.
“They just came and started demolishing our houses without talking to anyone. We don’t even know what this is all about. We tried to talk to them and find out what’s going on, but they are not saying anything.
“We bought these stands through Madzibaba Enock Housing Cooperative and this is the third time,” said Felistus Mutondova.
Another resident, Lydia Chigayo, said had council warned them of the demolitions, they would have prepared accordingly.
“We were never given any warning. I was in Mazowe when all this happened. I was phoned by my neighbours and I rushed here, only to find them already knocking down our house. These stands are under Madzibaba Enock Housing Cooperative and we bought them legally. I had all the receipts but I cannot find them since all my property was thrown away when they demolished my house,” said Chigayo.
Some of the affected residents said the demolitions could be politically motivated.
Harare City Council acting corporate communications manager Innocent Ruwende confirmed the incident saying the residents were staying illegally and a court order was filed against them.
“Those people were staying illegally. They have invaded an open space for the council land. We filed a court order against them. The land was not allocated to them, it belongs to the council,” he said. The Herald/ZTN Correspondent