MILITANT municipal police accompanied by Zimbabwe Republic Police officers demolished more than 25 houses in Harare’s Westlea and Warren Park surburbs as the crackdown on illegal structures continued yesterday in what observers described as the second “Operation Murambatsvina.”
BY MOSES MATENGA
Council spokesperson Michael Chideme confirmed the demolitions saying the city had “assisted those who built illegally to remove their structures.”
“City of Harare assisted illegal settlers to pull down their structures at the corner of Samora Machel and Tynwald Roads (Westlea) and in Warren Park. A total of 25 houses at different stages of construction were pulled down,” Chideme said.
When NewsDay visited Westlea, the affected residents were furious with MDC-T councillors, accusing them of corruption and spearheading the demolitions to tarnish the image of the newly appointed Minister of Local Government Saviour Kasukuwere.
The Zanu PF youths accused five MDC-T councillors who sit in the housing committee of reallocating the stands after they had refused to give them bribes.
“They came here with a front-end loader and started demolishing the houses. Some of them had guns and numbered about 40. They chased people from the spot and started demolishing the houses,” said a witness.
Beven Nyatanga, a member of one of the co-operatives affected said they were shocked by the level of insensitivity by council.
Nyatanga said the land in question was council land approved for residential purposes in 2013, but was subjected to serious political fights involving one Bradha Engineering company and five MDC-T councillors.
“We are three co-operatives here and one company called Bradha Engineering. The co-operatives are Final Hope, Josiah Housing co-operative and Makomborero Housing co-operative. We applied for this land in 2012 and we got 94 stands as three co-operatives while Bright Ncube got 100, but he now wants to take all the land,” Nyatanga said.
“The MDC-T councillors wanted bribes saying they sit in the housing committee and would therefore defend us. They wanted $5 000. We have a copy of the paper we made to pay one of the councillors who signed for $2 000 as bribe.”
He alleged that after refusing to pay the bribes, the stands were allocated to MDC-T-linked co-operatives namely 2 Tinevimbo, Central Heights and Chipochashe housing co-operatives.
The Warren Park demolitions came a week after council destroyed 11 houses in Glen Norah.
Council has vowed to remove all the illegal structures in the city and were yesterday seen raiding illegal food vendors and clothes vendors in several suburbs and confiscating their wares.