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Chitungwiza demolishes illegal structures

by Staff reporter
15 Jul 2022 at 09:03hrs | Views
Chitungwiza Municipality started destroying illegal structures, often tuckshops, at the start of a 30-day blitz on Wednesday to remove them, especially those under power lines and over sewers.

The blitz was started at Huruyadzo Shopping Centre in St Marys where many thronged the area witnessing a Caterpillar mow down illegal structures at different stages of construction, some just at foundations and some at roof level.

While the council officials faced no resistance from the people due to heavy police presence, one woman wept uncontrollably, blocking the demolition of her structure behind Total Energies Service Station, saying her papers were in order.

Council officials shelved that demolition pending further verification of the papers.

Acting Chitungwiza Town Clerk Mrs Evangelista Machona said the demolition blitz was a declaration of war against land barons.

"Chitungwiza is now without sanity because everyone is building wherever they want," she said. "What we are doing is targeting all illegal structures. Those built under electricity power lines and on top of sewers.

"We have the records as residents update us now and again. There were offer letters which were fraudulently issued. We are also targeting those structures. The war is ongoing until sanity prevails."

Acting housing director Mr Tatenda Chinganga said at one point, the municipality issued enforcement and prohibition orders to the effect that people were not supposed to be constructing illegal structures, but unfortunately some decided to defy the directive.

"It is not only a criminal offence, but it is against the by-laws of the municipality to construct any structures without the approval of council," he said.

"Today's demolition is a process which is going to cut across Chitungwiza Municipality. We are now embarking on a 30-day operation to make sure we restore sanity in Chitungwiza."

A local resident, Mr Tafadzwa Murehwa, hailed the council for bringing sanity to the town.

"Demolition of illegal structures is a welcome issue," he said. "People who were benefiting from the illegal structures had some backing behind them, but we are glad the planning authority has shown them that they have the final say.

"We no longer had space or an area to interact for social gatherings as residents."

Another resident, Mrs Anotida Chinyuke, said people should just approach the council for proper stands to avoid losses.

"People were just duped that these are legal stands by land barons," she said. "We no longer have recreational spaces like football grounds. We are also in need of these stands, but we were deprived due to these land barons."

A concerned resident, Mr Hebert Tamurepi, said the council and State were the only planning authorities vested with powers over land.

"If you want papers, one should approach Chitungwiza Municipality on the way forward," he said. "There is a housing department which handles such issues.

"People should avoid dealing with councillors on land issues. They end up wasting money, investing in thieves. It is sad that someone who invested his money ends up losing it in such a pitiful way."

Mrs Chigome, commonly known as Mai Never at Huruyadzo shops, had her structure surviving demolition.

"I have all my papers," she said. "What pains me is that I am a widow who borrowed US$5 000 to construct the structure, only for the council officials to attempt to destroy it.

"They should handle the exercise case by case as some of us have our papers."

Mrs Grace Mitero said the pace at which the illegal structures were sprouting was mind boggling.

Source - The Herald