Press Release - Harare North Evictions
Approximately 300 families have been evicted off land they were squatting on in Harare North. The site popularly known as “Masawe” is about 500 m from the toll gate on the Enterprise road and about 500 m east of the main road. Families have been there for up to 25 years in some cases. The land belongs to FBC (banking, insurance and building society). This is undisputed.
In 2012, names of residents were requested on the pretext of issuing stands to the squatters. 220 registered through the local ZANU PF structures. Subsequently these names appeared as the defendants in case before the Courts in 2015. The affected residents did not appear at the hearing and were not represented in any way as they are largely poor and live below the poverty line.
In Case number 12422/12 the Courts ruled in favour of the Bank, on 12th Oct 2015. An order to evict the residents (notice of removal) was served on the residents on the 7th of May 2016, with the date of execution being the 12th May. SIX days notice of eviction.
The people were removed off the property by vehicles, (under threat if they did not move, police and bulldozers would be used!) all along encouraged by the local Member of Parliament Hon. T Mudambo (Zanu PF) even though they were originally responsible for “allocating stands illegally to the people in the area.
While not disputing the right to private ownership, MDC calls on the Directors of FBC to give consideration of extending the date of execution to August 2016 in order to give the affected population time to:
- 1. Allow Residents to plan to move to an alternative site.
- 2. They could set up some form of temporary housing at the new site.
- 3. To avoid families being evicted in the middle of winter.
- 4. To avoid disruption of the school children involved and learning in a simple brick and mortar school with a borehole provided by a donor.
- 5. Giving them time to reap their crops.
The affected families are being dumped in Hatcliffe near the sewerage works. Hatcliffe is already oversubscribed with people trying to get stands, and is the playground of many politically linked land barons who are exploiting the plight of the homeless poor. MDC is deeply concerned about the health threats posed by the proximity of the site to the sewerage works.E G Cross
Shadow Minister for Local Government