A meeting called by National Housing and Social Amenities Minister Giles Mutsekwa in Dzivarasekwa over illegal acquisition of housing stands ended prematurely yesterday after the minister failed to answer questions from residents.
Government intends to relocate over 183 families to Whitecliff Farm as their illegal occupation of the housing stands in Dzivarasekwa was affecting the servicing of 740 stands by Government.
The 740 stands would be allocated to some of the home seekers on the City of Harare housing waiting list.
Minister Mutsekwa said according to a court ruling, the families should have vacated the place by November 30.
He had requested for a meeting with the affected families, but it was abandoned after it became clear that Minister Mutsekwa could not give answers to most of the questions the residents were asking.
Harare town clerk Dr Tendai Mahachi accompanied Minister Mutsekwa.
The residents claimed to have acquired the stands in a Government housing scheme rolled out in 1995 involving top civil servants.
But Minister Mutsekwa said the illegal settlers reportedly bought their stands from third parties and were not registered with the ministry.
There was also double allocation of stands in the area with more than four people claiming ownership of a stand.
Minister Mutsekwa said if the families failed to vacate the place voluntarily, they would be removed by force.
"I do not want your houses to be demolished while you are inside and that is why I am persuading you to come and get alternative stands at Whitecliff Farm."
Minister Mutsekwa said affected residents had been advised to register with his ministry for the new stands at Whitecliff Farm but they were refusing.
He said Government was paying a lot of money to a contractor who had stopped servicing the stands.
"There is slow progress to that and only 53 people have come to register and we are not going to wait any further," he said.
"The contractor has told us that the 183 houses are interfering with the setting up of the sewer and water pipes and they should be removed for them to continue with their work.
"We entered into a contract with the contractor and it means we will continue paying them even if they are not working."
The residents said there was no need for Minister Mutsekwa to persuade them since he was in possession of a court order.