BY IRENE MOYO OCCUPANTS of BMC houses in Makokoba, owned by Bulawayo City Council (BCC), have demanded that they be given a 10-year eviction notice by the local authority after protesting over a recent three-month notice to vacate the properties.
The Combined Bulawayo Residents Association (CBRA), BMC residents and the Makokoba Peace Committee had petitioned the local authority to withdraw its short eviction notice which was going to affect over 70 tenants.
CBRA representative Charles Nyama said the BCC housing and community service department recently called for an engagement between the involved parties following the residents’ petition.
“We received a call from the council stating that we should come for a meeting to lay bare our grievances to the BCC housing and community service department. After shifting blame between two parties, the housing department then agreed to further engagement after a 10-year eviction notice proposal was tabled in council because it was not easy to reverse an eviction decision,” Nyama said.
The parties also agreed that alternative accommodation be provided for those being evicted.
“Some of the suggestions were to move evicted residents to Vumbu and Thokozani Flats, which are also council houses,” Nyama added.
Ward 7 councillor Shadreck Sibanda said BMC residents would not be evicted.
“We apologise as councillors for taking such a big decision without considering the welfare of residents. I promise that the BMC residents will not be evicted. I am going to defend this issue in the council chambers. There are so many reasons why the decision needs to be reversed besides the welfare of BMC residents,” Sibanda said.
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BMC residents, who preferred not to be named, said: “Politicians are good at dangling promises.”
“I will suggest that if such critical agreements are being proposed, they should be on paper,” one resident said.
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