Following the expiration of Harare City Council’s 48-hour eviction notices, the demolition of illegally built houses and tuckshops to make way for the construction of the Mbudzi flyover and associated roadworks on road reserves in the Hopley area is still ongoing.
More than 320 structures are being demolished as part of the preparations for the construction of the flyover interchange, which will replace the perpetually congested Mbudzi roundabout.
Yesterday, most owners of the illegal houses and tuckshops near the Tariro Clinic road reserve were still pulling down structures on their own, although a handful adopted a wait-and-see attitude.
Some residents knocked down the whole structures built using farm bricks while others partly demolished the structures as they only removed roofs, door and window frames and window panes.
Harare City Council spokesperson Mr Michael Chideme yesterday said the council will continue to engage defiant property owners.
“We are going to engage people who continue operating there, we will talk with them until they see reason,” he said.
“The idea is not to use the stick, but to engage because we are dealing with human beings. We need to respect each other, we need to respect human dignity and their rights, but eventually they will move away because of the engagement.”
Mr Enock Kadzita pleaded with council to provide them with new stands.
“We have been here for the past five years and were waiting for the regularisation exercise by the Government. Our plea is that the council will just allocate us new stands, especially us the 320 people who received eviction notices. We are stranded, we don’t know what to do next,” said Mr Kadzita.
Cabinet has approved the construction of the Mbudzi flyover and work has already started on repairing and upgrading surrounding roads to act as the needed diversions before teams move onto the roundabout area.
This means Harare City Council has to act to remove the illegal structures, some of which had been allowed to clog road reserves for up to six years.
The dual operation is centred on the new flyover, but part is to clear a major road reservation in the Hopley area and the other part to clear the road reservation and other council land around the proposed roadworks for the interchange.