By Zandile Tandi
Residents in Budiriro 5 have resorted to staying in shacks following the demolition of houses by the City of Harare in December.
More than 140 houses were demolished leaving an estimated 715 people homeless after the city fathers said the houses were built on illegal land.
One of the residents identified as Baba Gamu told Slymedianews they bought the plots of land from Tembwe Housing cooperative in 2010.
“We followed all the formalities of paying monthly subscriptions and now we are told that we are on an illegal land,” he said.
“It is a struggle sleeping in the rain in temporary shelters and when the rain is too heavy, we stay with relatives in the area”
Other residents who have not yet lost their homes were living in fear as they were promised the houses would be demolished.
The Harare Resident Trust, although it does not support building on illegal land, said demolishing houses is and will never be the solution
The Trust on the day of the demolitions said, “The government, together with the local authority should look at the bigger picture and tackle the root problem of housing shortages.”
“The repeat illegal allocations and demolitions of people’s homes will be with us for a long time to come if local authorities do not address housing delivery and service land.”
“Ultimately, the human rights of the citizens will continue to be violated while the corrupt keep getting away without being punished.”
The HRT recommended the City of Harare to have an electronic housing waiting list to enable transparent land allocations for housing developments and only the Council should be responsible for selling council land, and the land must be serviced.
” In addition, all the land must be held in a land bank so that it is known beforehand,” said the Trust.
“Land barons and estate agents should be eliminated from the land allocation system.”