Innocent Ruwende Senior Reporter
Government will sympathise with home-seekers who were fleeced and illegally settled by land barons as it moves in such areas to bring order and sanity as well as create self-containing urban settlements, a Cabinet Minister has said.
Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister July Moyo said when Government and local authorities embark on the Urban Renewal Project, they will also move into settlements which do not have requisite infrastructure and redevelop them.
“There is a lot of developments that have taken place. Government and the city were giving land to the cooperatives. Some of those cooperatives have turned into land barons. Whether they were given land by the city or Government, the effect is the same,” he said.
“Some have become greedy after allocating land and leaving space for schools or wetlands. After they allocated land to those in properly planned areas, a greedy person will say we opened new land when in fact they are now settling people on wetlands.”
Minister Moyo added, “Government has to look at it together with the city and say this is illegal because most of those people when they first started there was a plan and it is those plans which are now being violated by this greediness.”
He said Government will show no sympathy to individuals who settled themselves as they will be removed once Government and council moves in.
“We will be sympathetic to those who were properly resettled by land barons and these land barons were fleecing people. We think that the law should take its course, arrest those land barons and we see what to do with the people who have been fleeced by those land barons.”
Minister Moyo said Government and the city are in serious trouble because they have to chase after people who are resettling themselves.
He said at some point, both the city and his ministry will have to go to those areas and redevelop them citing examples of Caledonia, Harare South and other areas where there is no sewerage, no water or city centre.
“We want to create urban settlements which are self-containing. If you just go around here in Harare, look at Mabelreign which was the lowest of townships for whites but you can see a centre with post office, banks and police. That is what we want to create for our own people. Where we have not done it, we will go and do urban renewal although it is a new place,” he said.
“When we do so, that is when we will find out who has settled themselves without permit, who has settled themselves on land meant for schools and clinics and we will take action. Urban renewal is not just a matter of doing it in places which are too old. You can do it in areas where people have settled themselves improperly.”