ZANU PF Dangamvura/Chikanga legislator Esau Mupfumi and Mutare City Council have reportedly agreed to jointly approach the Ministry of Local Government to regularise residential stands occupied by over 1 000 illegal settlers in the eastern border city.
BY KENNETH NYANGANI
The issue had become a thorn in the flesh for the local municipality despite a ruling by the High Court directing illegal settlers to vacate the industrial area within five months.
The settlers are represented by Passmore Nyakureba, while David Tandiri is standing in for the local authority.
“An order was obtained by consent in the High Court and it gives the respondent (settlers) five months to vacate the land in question,” Nyakureba said.
However, addressing hundreds of illegal settlers in Mutare recently, Mupfumi said he had already approached Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere and Mutare City Council town clerk Joshua Maligwa over the matter.
“Council has a resolution to evict you and they have the High Court order to evict you, but I had to visit Minister Saviour Kasukuwere over the issue,’’ he said.
“The minister said he needed to find out if the place is suitable for you to stay (Devonshire open space) and this why you saw Maligwa and his team visiting the area.’’
Mupfumi said council had indicated some of the land was reserved for industrial development and the other belonged to the National Railways of Zimbabwe.
“I asked Maligwa what we could do and we agreed to write a letter to Kasukuwere for change of use. We are now applying to the minister for change of use so that it becomes a residential area,’’ he said.
The MP said although he was worried with lack of ablution facilities, he was optimistic the problem would be addressed.
The illegal settles have occupied the place for almost one and a half years and have built slums.
Maligwa’s mobile phone went unanswered yesterday when sought for comment.