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  • Operation Murambatsvina - Countrywide evictions of urban poor - Index of articles

  • Over $20m required for plans' approval
    The Herald (Zimbabwe)
    July 20, 2005

    RESIDENTS of Harare's low-density suburbs, who want to regularise their properties' plans, will have to fork out at least $23 million to the Harare City Council for approval.

    Council officials at different district offices in the capital city yesterday said those with illegal structures at their properties have to pay at least $23 million to regularise them.

    The officials said the figure was the fine council had set.

    Those who lost their plans and want their buildings to be regularised have to pay a searching fee of $150 000.

    "There are some residents who have already regularised their plans and these have been approved after they paid the money. The money is like a fine to people who built illegal structures that were not approved at their premises.

    "The regularisation is a cumbersome process though," said a Harare City Council official at Mount Pleasant district office.

    A Vainona resident, who had just paid the $23 million to regularise the plan of her home, said it was better to pay the money instead of having to demolish her three cottages.

    Other district offices in several low-density suburbs were deserted except for residents who wanted to pay their monthly rates and water charges.

    Residents of Harare's low-density suburbs have welcomed the temporary suspension of demolitions of illegal structures under Operation Murambatsvina saying it would give them enough time to locate their house plans and regularise illegal structures.

    The Harare City Council has said residents who lost their plans should look for an architect who would re-draw a plan and present them to council for approval.

    It costs at least $3 million for an architect to draw the plan of a three bedroomed house for a low-density area.

    The Minister of Local Government, Public Works and Urban development, Cde Ignatius Chombo, on Friday announced that the demolition of illegal structures in low-density suburbs had been temporarily suspended and owners of such structures were given 10 working days starting on Monday to regularise them.

    The clean-up operation that kicked off in high-density suburbs countrywide at the end of May saw illegally constructed shacks, tuckshops and home industries being demolished. The Government is undertaking a massive housing project with a view to accommodating the people who have been affected by the clean-up operation so far.

    Last week, Government acquired at least 9 000 more hectares of land from peri-urban farms for urban expansion.

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