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Council gives aged residents two weeks eviction notice from rented houses

by Staff Reporter
23 Jun 2014 at 08:02hrs | Views

The Municipality of Gwanda has issued occupants of council houses in the Old Jahunda Township with two week notices to move out of the council houses they have been renting for fourteen years.

According to an eviction notice in the hands of Bulawayo24 dated the 10th of June 2014 and delivered to the tenants on the 17th of June, the houses must be vacated by the 25th of June to allow for new occupants to move into the houses by the 1st of July.

The rental houses were allocated to the tenants, most of them aged senior residents of the town, in the year 2000 under the Jahunda Township Redevelopment Housing Scheme. The tenants were moved into the four room houses when council destroyed the one room shelters that had been built as low cost houses for the town's poorer residents in the colonial period.

In the eviction notice council claims that the tenants have to leave the houses as some of the people that are now resident in the houses are not listed as occupants in the original lease agreements that were signed 14 years ago. The notice accuses the tenants, without verification, of renting out some of the rooms in the houses which is contravening clauses of the lease agreement. One elderly lady interviewed by Bulawayo 24 claimed that she moved into the one room house in the sixties before she was eventually allocated the new house in 2000. The aged resident claims says that council is ordering her to leave the house because she is living in the house with her now elderly son and her grand children.

"Council says I must leave the house because my son and his family must not stay with me in the house. This boy was born while I was staying in this old location he grew up here got married and now has children and he is staying here with me and taking care of me. If they want him out who should I stay with?" lamented the old woman.

Another tenant who has been served with the eviction notice claims that she was also born in the area while her now deceased parents lived in the one room houses before they were moved into the new house. She says she continued to live in the house which she now occupies with her own children and so does not understand why council now wants to move them out of the house.

"I was born here, my parents died while I was here, my children were born here, why must I then be kicked out of the house? Who are these new tenants that they want to put in the houses who are more special than us?"

According to information made available to Bulawayo 24, some of the houses under the same scheme have been given to the occupants under the home ownership scheme. Some of the beneficiaries of the ownership of the houses are reported to have been given ownership having occupied the houses for less than a year.

"This is politics at play here. We are being victimised here for being known supporters of the opposition MDC and those sympathetic ZANU PF have been given ownership of the houses while we are being evicted so that new ZANU PF supporters occupy the houses and get ownership," said a son of one of the people under eviction.

Asked if the residents had sort clarification of the evictions from the councillor of the ward, the residents claim that the councillor of the ward Mduduzi Malaba Ncube expressed ignorance of the evictions. The residents claim that councillor Thulani Moyo of ward 9 who is the chairperson of the council's Health and Housing Committee has been seen around the ward with council officials dishing out the eviction notices and insisting that people must leave the houses.

"Our councillor doesn't know anything about these evictions, they are being done by (Councillor) Thulani (Moyo) and Khumalo (a housing officer)," said one resident.

"We know that Thulani (Moyo) has planted spies in the ward who are busy feeding him information of people that are said to be renting out houses and talking bad of our councillor in exchange for mealie meal and sugar. We don't know how he leaves issues from his ward to come and cause divisions and confusion in Mduduzi (Ncube)'s ward," bitterly complained the resident.

Some residents however claim that councillor Ncube is well aware of the matter as the eviction notices make reference to a council resolution HH 1434 passed on the 26th of April 2014. The residents claim that councillor Ncube has previously expressed in a ward meeting that an audit of the occupants of the houses will be done before the houses are put on Home Ownership scheme so that only those who "deserved" the houses will be given ownership of the houses.

"There is no way Mduduzi (Ncube) can claim not to be aware of this whole thing. When he was campaigning to be councillor he assured his supporters that he will put their houses on ownership and those that did not have houses he would make sure they get them. This is all corruption and politics at play. Did he not attend the meeting that passed the resolution to do the evictions?" complained another resident.

Contacted for comment, the Chairman of the Gwanda Residents Association Mr Gilbert Dube said that the issue has been brought to the attention of the association and his committee will be approaching the Mayor's office urgently to verify the issue and put an urgent interdict to stop the evictions.

"The matter has been brought to our attention and we have sent a delegation to see the Mayor about the issue urgently to stop these evictions," he said.

"Some of the people occupying these houses have been in these house since they were built and some of them are children and grand children of the original occupants now that the houses are due for ownership then they are being evicted it doesn't work like that. Logic can only be that the current occupants of the houses be given first priority to ownership even if they are children of the original occupants."

A council employee who was handing out the eviction notices is said to have told the occupants of the houses that the houses belong to council and are not up for inheritance.

"Akusizo zidlu zelifa lezi, (these are not houses for inheritance)" he is quoted to have rudely told some occupants as he literally threw the eviction notices at them.

Comment could not be immediately sourced from the councillor of the ward nor from council officials.

Source - Byo24News
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