‘Communication avoids demolition outcry’

THERE is a need for effective communication between the public and town planners to avoid displacement problems such as the infamous Operation Murambatsvina, an environment expert has said.

Report by Pamela Mhlanga

Speaking at the World Town Planning Day celebrations hosted by Zimbabwe Institute of Regional and Urban Planners (Zirup) on Friday, the Dean of the Faculty of the Built Environment at the National University of Science and Technology Virginia Madiro said town planners were failing to effectively communicate with the public regarding the demolition of illegal structures.

“Town planners are good at planning, but fail in implementing those plans,” she said. “They do not give people enough information concerning that order.”

Madiro said it was unfair that some of the victims of Murambatsvina, “were not given an opportunity to regularise their illegal structures because of lack of official communication”.

“There must be effective communication so that people learn and are aware about this order instead of carrying out that order when they are not prepared,” she said.

“There was a period in Harare and the Murambatsvina period where some people had their structures destroyed without giving them a grace period for them to regularise their structures as required before their homes are destroyed.”

The provincial planning officer Francis Ndlovu said there were three processes that people were meant to be aware of that were involved in the demolition order.

“If a developer embarks on setting up an illegal structure in a certain area that developer is first given a warning that he or she must immediately stop that development. What follows is prohibition and then demolition would be the last option,” he said.

The chairperson of Zirup Anastance Ncube said the use of ICTs was important for town planners in a communication and information-based planning process.

“The use of technology is meant to network with communities and stakeholders for the effective governing and administration of the city affairs,” he said. “We can manage land developers using ICTs.”

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  1. You are equally failing to communicate what you are preaching. What are the ‘three’ most effective ways/processes of communication said by Francis Nndlovu???

  2. I agree that demolition is the final option when all alternatives have been exhausted. In any case the city fathers are accused of abetting the perpetrators, because they say or do nothing while construction is taking place. All of a sudden they realize that they need to enforce by-law, I don’t think that is proper governance. Councils should provide accommodation to residents. How can you destroy someone’s property if you cannot provide an alternative?

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