By Anna Chibamu
FAMILIES affected by the recent floods in Budiriro 5B will be relocated to government-built flats in Dzivarasekwa Extension, Harare, the National Housing and Social Amenities Minister Daniel Garwe has said.
Flash floods hit some parts of the country last week destroying houses and infrastructure.
In Budiriro 5B, a six-year-old was swept away by the heavy rains and her lifeless body was found days later.
Touring the area on Sunday, Garwe, who was accompanied by Local Government minister Winston Chitando, Harare Metropolitan minister Charles Tavengwa and other government officials said the 27 families will move to the flats this January.
According to the residents who spoke to NewZimbabwe.com, the number of families affected has increased to 43 families over the years.
“Over the past two years, I have visited this place thrice and we agreed then to build houses for the 27 families who are victims of the illegal selling of land by some known land barons, I will mention one, Nyamayaro. Police, please take note of that name.
“We are very sorry about the loss of a child during the floods. As government, we want to protect the lives of people, hence we are going to move those 27 families to government-built flats in Dzivarasekwa. Only those 27 families whose names were listed and given to us two years ago will benefit,” Garwe said.
The minister warned the residents not to purchase land from land barons who often name-drop in their deals
“If that person tells you that he is from Zanu PF, just ignore them because Zanu PF is not a land baron. Buying stolen property is criminal. If you buy government property, it is an offence and people will get arrested.
“This place is inhabitable and I am surprised that the number of families has doubled. This shows that people have ignored government instructions. Whether we receive rain or not, this place is not meant for human settling.
“A citizen is not the government or above the law. This area is state land and no one owns it. Do not be deceived by those land barons who are after your hard-earned cash selling inhabitable land,” he warned.
The residents denied being ‘illegal settlers’ alleging the council had sold them the land and the matter had been to the courts.
One affected resident of the area called Common Vision said, “The issue of this area known as Common Vision is complicated. It was started by government employees who are councillors.
“The project is authentic with all paperwork in place. We have visited government officials to no avail. Because of political differences, our land over there was being taken by the land barons.
“This is the reason why we are here at this illegal site,” said the resident.
Garwe however, told the settler to report the matter to the police since they were located at a wetland which is also under electricity cables posing a danger to them.
“Let me conclude by saying, that once these families are moved to the new houses, all these structures will be demolished and the government will deal with anyone who dares come back to build any structure,” he said.
Police Commissioner and Officer Commanding Harare Province (Propol) Wonder Tembo reiterated “As police, we will make sure that we do what the government has ordered us to do. On the demolition day, we will make sure that we are here to do the job, making sure that no one returns to this place.”