City to demolish illegal structures


Harare City Council has condemned as illegal all small buildings or extensions of existing shops mushrooming in the capital.
Most of the structures, rented by foreigners, mostly Nigerians and Chinese, trade in various types of retail businesses from clothing and vehicle spares to restaurants and beauty accessories.
City public relations manager, Leslie Gwindi, said council would soon demolish the unapproved buildings.
He said the illegal and often shabby structures were tainting the image of the capital and action had to be taken quickly as they had become an eyesore and hampering efforts by city fathers to return Harare to its former “Sunshine City” status.
“These structures are illegal,” a combative Gwindi said. “They do not conform to council requirements and ought to be demolished. Many of them are not permanent structures and we are going to demolish them.”
Gwindi said houses in various suburbs being used as restaurants would not be spared either, because their operations were not only illegal, but posed a health hazard.
“We are dealing with a case in Mount Pleasant where a Chinese family has transformed a house into a restaurant.
“We do not condone that. It is against council by-laws and action has to be taken,” Gwindi said.
“There are many challenges that this practice will bring about, including a situation where the sewer system could be overloaded.”
Recently, debate on illegal structures took centre stage at a full council meeting where some councillors demanded that all illegal structures be demolished.
Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda said the municipality was dismayed at this development and action had to be taken.
He said it would not be right to single out particular nationalities as being responsible for the disorder in the capital.
“I don’t want to sound xenophobic, but the structures are not proper for the city and we are looking into that,” Masunda said.