11 November 2013

Zimbabwe: No Going Back On Demolitions - Govt

Photo: IRIN
Epworth residents affected by Operation Murambatsvina (file photo).

GOVERNMENT will not relent on the demolition of illegal structures despite criticism of the programme by some people, the Deputy Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Joel Biggie Matiza said yesterday.

The demolitions would start once an audit report being compiled has been completed.

Deputy Minister Matiza said that people who were criticising the proposed demolition of illegal structures did not appreciate the enormity of the "mess" in areas like Chitungwiza and Seke.

"The audit report will be out by November 14," he said. "It is being carried out by a committee that we set up and it is constituted by the Environmental Management Agency, Zimbabwe Republic Police and officials from our ministry."

Deputy Minister Matiza said some of the aspects the committee would be looking at included the council resolution legalising activities or structures and provisions of by-laws.

He said the illegal structures they unearthed in areas like Chitungwiza were disheartening and no reasonable person would criticise corrective measures the Government intended to take.

"We will not stop. It's a mess," said Deputy Minister Matiza. "There are situations where people built houses where there are electrical lines. We have been sensitising residents and our meetings went on well."

Some senior council officials, he said, would collude with unscrupulous people and allocate them stands to carry out activities that were inconsistent with the primary purpose of the area.

He said some of the structures, if not removed, had far-reaching ramifications to the future development of the town.

Some people have expressed concern at the proposed demolitions, saying they would leave residents without shelter.

Zengeza East National Assembly member Mr Alexio Musundire (MDC-T) has since moved a motion in Parliament condemning the proposed demolitions.

Civil society has also called for what it termed a sustainable solution to the housing crisis in urban areas.

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