By Nomalanga Moyo
SW Radio Africa
24 June 2014
Gwanda residents are up in arms over threats by the municipality to evict 25 families from their homes at Jahunda Township.
Online news agency Bulawayo24 said tenants were served with the notices on June 17th and given until June 25th to vacate and make way for new tenants on July 1st.
Among the reasons for the evictions the municipality says some of the occupants of the houses are not listed in the original lease agreements, and accuses tenants of subletting.
Most of those threatened with eviction are elderly and were allocated the houses 14 years ago under the Jahunda Township Redevelopment Housing Scheme.
According to Gwanda Residents Association spokesman Bekezela Fuzwayo, the tenants were initially given one-year leases when they moved in but after some time, the council stopped sending out the leases.
“Beginning of this year, some of these houses were given to sitting tenants under the council’s home ownership scheme. However, some tenants were excluded, and these are the ones facing eviction,” Fuzwayo told SW Radio Africa on Tuesday.
Fuzwayo said the residents were challenging the evictions, saying it was spurious to accuse tenants of subletting when the so-called new tenants were in fact children of the original tenants.
“We have written to the council to say current tenants should be considered ahead of those being brought in from outside to occupy these houses.
“We also told the municipality that the notice they gave the residents is irregular and as an association we will not allow it. We have advised residents not to move out should the council try to force them out of the houses tomorrow.”
The residents accuse ZANU PF politicians in the town of plotting the evictions in order to make way for their own people. They say only members of the opposition MDC have been served with the notices.
“Those that have been allocated houses permanently are known ZANU PF supporters. There appears to be a lot of corruption and politics surrounding the whole issue and that is why we are saying nobody should move out until these concerns have been cleared,” Fuzwayo said.