By Mutsa Makuvaza
NORTON Member of the House of Assembly, Temba Mliswa, has commended the Harare City Council for continuously demolishing unregulated structures, saying he hoped Norton Town Council also pulls down illegal structures.
As reported by the Zimbabwe Voice this Tuesday, Harare has advised residents owning or operating illegal tuckshops and other structures to pull them or council workmen will move in next week and do the job.
“All illegal tuck-shop owners across town should stop operations and remove their structures before 18 February, 2021. An operation to remove illegal structures is coming soon.
“Some of the illegal structures are on road verges and public spaces. The unsightly structures are not helping especially when it rains because some of the structures are causing flooding as they block runoff,” warned the council in a statement Tuesday afternoon.
Mliswa commends the move and urges residents in his constituency to back it as well.
“Harare City Council are doing well in regularising illegal structures and ensuring their demolitions thereof.
“Norton Town Council (NTC) should follow suit. NTC is sadly compromised as they’ve allowed building on wetlands, under electricity, pylons etc.,” said Mliswa.
“Norton has the potential to be a constituency leading in economic activities. This however, can only be achieved when the constituency is smart, clean and in compliance with the laws; the NTC Master Plan is in place.
“This is why at times I say people either vote for poverty or for a better life for themselves and this begins at grassroots level.”
Besides Norton and Harare, even the country’s rural areas have unregulated dwellings and these must be pulled down, Mliswa argues.
“Illegal settlers are not limited to towns and cities alone as the rural areas suffer the same. All illegal dwellers must either be regularised or go.”
Early last year, local authorities across the country demolished vending stalls and tuck-shops following an instruction from Local Government minister July Moyo, who said it was meant to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Informal traders represented by the Chitungwiza Residents Trust and Kushinga Epworth Residents Association then approached the Harare High Court to “interdict local authorities and central government from demolishing any tuck-shops and vending stalls.”
The traders argued in court that they had been paying fees and rates to local authorities for their tuck-shops and stalls and they argued this was an acknowledgement that their operations were lawful.
The High Court then ruled the demolitions illegal. The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, which represented the groups in court, said they believed “this ban should serve as a warning to the rest of all councils that demolitions will have repercussions on them.” – Zimbabwe Voice 🔺