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People who acquired housing stands illegally should stop any construction as demolitions will continue with particular focus on those defying eviction orders being issued by local authorities, a Government official has said.
In an interview, Harare Provincial Development Coordinator Mr Tafadzwa Muguti warned people against erecting structures without any form of inspection.
“I am warning people that are building their homes on stands that they acquired through illegal means to immediately stop all construction, especially those that bought stands from individuals who claim to own land, but have no proof of ownership.
“The City of Harare has been issuing orders for evictions and demolitions, but people are ignoring them and continuing to build. They all risk having their homes demolished,” he said.
Demolitions of houses built illegally on private land in Harare South started last week and Government said it was now targeting unapproved and illegal settlements set up by land barons, with regularisation being extended to some houses built earlier on.
Mr Muguti said Government could not continue tolerating people building without permits or any form of building inspection.
“Surely how can builders finish constructing houses without any compliance to laws of the land? I am saddened to see that our people actually trust land barons to the extent of believing that they will get title deeds from them,” he said.
“Demolitions are heart-breaking, but they can be avoided if people just follow the law. I urge all citizens to check the legality of their properties prior to construction,” he said.
Houses built on wetlands and open spaces zoned for recreation, along with informal structures built on land reserved for social amenities, are the main targets under the exercise, which is aiming at removing illegal settlements in towns and cities.
Some of these illegal settlements were created by land barons in cahoots with corrupt municipal councillors and officials.