BULAWAYO City Council has ordered the immediate eviction of tenants from a block of flats in the central business district, with the local authority describing the building as being in a bad state of disrepair.
Report by Pamela Mhlanga
This comes as the new owners of the building, the Church of Scientology, are preparing to move in after giving the previous tenants six months notice to leave the building.
“Your premises do not have municipal water supply, are in a bad state of disrepair and fouling is still rampant, thereby creating a public health nuisance,” reads a letter from the council’s department of health services.
The tenants were given up to today to rectify the issues that council brought up, failure of which the building would be locked down.
“You are hereby required within 24 hours from the date of service of this notice to restore municipal water supply to your premises, repair and renovate or cause the premises to be vacated until such a time that water supply is reconnected and the premises have been renovated,” reads the letter signed yesterday and addressed to the Church of Scientology.
Tenants residing at the flat confirmed that they had been served with six-month eviction notices, but they still argued that the time was not adequate.
“It is painful that we are now required to move from the premises so soon because some of us have not yet found alternative places to live in,” one tenant, who requested anonymity, said.
The tenant said she had lived on the premises since 2010 and it was painful that she had to leave the flat she called home for the past three years.
“Although it is painful for me, the Church of Scientology has a right because they are the owners of the building and they need to renovate the place which
is now in a dilapidated state,” she said.
Another tenant said they were going to resist eviction.
“This is totally unfair, this is our place and we are not going anywhere even if they try to resort to force,” he said.
“We are not going anywhere.”
A group of people who were nearby and identified themselves as members of the Church of Scientology said they wanted to renovate the building before they moved in.
“We are still discussing this as the members of the Church of Scientology, we do not want media coverage, so will you please leave,” an unidentified female member said.