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

  • Summary of the tour of Operation Garikai sites by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Local Govt
    Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)
    October 27, 2005

    The committee is chaired by Honourable Margaret Zinyemba (Mazowe West). Other members of this committee are Hon. Trudy Stevenson (Harare North), Hon. Gift Chimanikire (Mbare), Hon. Editor Matamisa (Kadoma), Hon. Faber Chidarikire (Chinhoyi) , Hon Matimba (Bikita East) and Chief Malaba (Matabeleland South).

    Objective of the tour:
    The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee needed to familiarise itself with the whole Operation Garikai exercise. They visited Hatcliffe Extension, Whitecliffe, Hopley Estate and lastly Majubeki Lines near Mbare Musika.

    1. Hatcliffe Extension:
    At this site the committee was briefed by Colonel K. Gwanetsa, the chairperson of the Operation Garikai in Harare Metropolitan Province and a Mr Sibanda from the Harare City Council. Gwanetsa explained to them that the programme of reconstruction was being hindered by alleged interference of "imperialists and sanctions".

    There are about 3 000 stands at the site but the exercise had set a target of 520 houses. This target has been missed. Individuals and groups would build the other houses because the government had no fuel and money. The constructed houses are yet to be floored. No one is living in the houses. People still living in plastic shelter, provided by UNICEF.

    Water had been connected to the Harare main system and the beneficiaries have to buy individual meters for their stands. Meanwhile, UNICEF is supplying the residents there with water on regular basis.

    Plans for the houses are being sold for $2, 1 million from Harare City Council, according to a Mr Karuona from the City’s Department of Works. This charge covered the inspectors’ visits to check on the construction.

    The Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing were yet to draw up the payment terms for the beneficiaries. The explanations given by the army and the council were unclear on this issue.

    The Catholic Church has provided beneficiaries with plastics roofing and some poles as temporary shelter while the construction goes on.

    2. Whitecliffe
    Colonel Gwanetsa and officials from the City of Harare explained that the rebuilding exercise was lagging behind because of large boulders on some of the stands, fuel shortages and funding.

    However, they have managed to bring water from Lake Chivero but are yet to connect sewerage system. There were unclear explanations from the army and the city council on this matter.

    There is a total of 9 000 stands. Under Phase 1, they have 459 stands and four demonstration houses. Of these 459 stands, 277 are at roofing stage. The target deadline was August 31, 2005. There are problems at 11 of the stands with large boulders hindering construction. They will use dynamite to blast the boulders, according to the military.

    Under Phase 2, there are 366 stands while in Phase 3 there are 201 pegged stands. No one is living at Whitecliffe. Questions of who had been allocated stands there were raised. The MPs wanted to know how they would harmonise the lists published in the media and the waiting list for Harare City Council. The military and City officials explained that they would be sitting down to try to sort out the issue.

    There are 1 157 people working on the reconstruction exercise at this site. There is no sewerage.

    3. Hopley Estate
    Colonel Gwanetsa said some beneficiaries who had been allocated stands at Whitecliffe had been moved to Hopley due to problems of boulders at the former. The lists of beneficiaries at both places to be harmonised at scheduled meetings.

    The issue of Eddies Pfugari’s property at Whitecliffe was also queried. The response from Colonel Gwanetsa was that since Constitutional Amendment Number 17 had become law, issue to do with land would not be contested in court but the government would pay for developments Pfugari made.

    The Officer-in-Charge, a prison officer at Hopley said the soils there were too sandy. They had no cement, and neither did they have fuel and money. The government allocated $1 trillion for the Operation Garikai for the whole country. Most of the time, the workforce was idle, chatting, doing nothing productive.

    He said there were currently 1 000 families at the site but all staying in small plastic shelter, provided again by UNICEF.

    On the issue of water, the crisis there is extreme. The people were waiting for the arrival of water from UNICEF for most of the day when the Parliamentary Committee visited. There was no water by the time they left in the afternoon.

    4. Majubeki Lines in Mbare
    The Committee stopped over at this place and saw several families staying in the open without any solution in sight. Sewerage was flowing nearby. The victims of the Operation Murambatsvina asked the committee how they could be accommodated on the Operation Garikai exercise. The chairperson of the Committee, Hon. Zinyemba told them to register at the City Council and be placed on the waiting list before they could benefit.

    Key Issues that arose;

    • The failure of the government to meet its set deadlines.
    • The severe shortages of cement, money and incapacity of government to construct the houses without help.
    • The majority of the beneficiaries are civil servants.
    • The living conditions of the victims of Murambatsvina.
    • Exposure to diseases due to lack of sanitary facilities.
    • Water shortages severe.
    • The cost of the houses remains unclear.
    • NB: This information is given out in the interest of the public to the media and Harare residents.

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