5 November 2012

Zambia: Lusaka Demolition Victims Rebuild 'Illegal' Structures

SOME victims of the Garden House demolition exercise in Lusaka in which more than 200 houses, both completed and unfinished, were razed last month have rebuilt their structures while others are still spending nights in the rubble.

A check at the site found most houses being roofed while others were still being constructed.

The owners of the houses have vowed that they would not leave the area because they bought the land from MMD cadres who they believed were given the mandate to sell the land by the former ruling party.

Francis Chanda, who spoke on behalf of the residents, said none of the victims would leave the area unless a different piece of land was given to them.

He said the people had no place to go to, adding that others had big families and would need a lot of funds to be able to settle elsewhere.

"We built our two small houses out of our poverty and that made us a little comfortable but that demolition took us back where we were," Mr Chanda said.

He said the residents were using the same materials that were destroyed during the demolition exercise to build new houses.

"These people are crushing the bricks that were demolished, adding cement to make mortar and moulding new bricks," he said.

He said they were also using the same roofing sheets that were destroyed, saying the damage to the sheets was being repaired by the use of silicon oxide to mend the cracks while the only pressing cost was that of labour for bricklayers and carpenters.

But Lusaka City Council (LCC) has maintained that the houses being rebuilt are still illegal and that the local authority will move in to demolish the structures.

LCC public relations officer Henry Kapata said no illegal structures would be tolerated around the city and that those rebuilding were doing so at their own risk.

About 200 structures were demolished in Garden House and Chinika industrial areas last month when LCC embarked on an exercise to rid the city of illegal structures.

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