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dwellers demand decent housing as council dishes out 10 000 stands
October 05, 2012
City Council should as a matter of urgency avail respectable housing
for slum dwellers in order to save lives.
This was one
of the many demands issued by hundreds of slum dwellers who thronged
the Bulawayo City Hall to commemorate the World Habitat Day at an
event organized by Amnesty International on Monday. Bulawayo Agenda
joined the world and local stakeholders in commemorating this day
at the stated venue.
Emganwini, Trenace and Ngozi Mine illegal settlers said they are
subjected to a number of human rights abuses and only the availing
of alternative shelters will save them from their current difficulties.
They said they
are often denied government services because they do not have legitimate
physical addresses which resulted in women giving birth at home
and children of primary-school going age being taught by school
treated as outcasts. We have to use other people's addresses
to access maternal health care. Failure to that results in women
risking losing their lives in the process of giving birth at home.
We have also started a Grade Zero class that is taught by local
children who have dropped out of school. We are therefore appealing
to the city fathers to give us respectable accommodation,"
said of the presenters from Ngozi mine only identified as 'MaDhlamini'.
She also lamented
the unsystematic police raids that have become a common feature
in their homes. She said they are always viewed as suspects capable
of committing any crime.
a very respectful people who always stay away from crime. We earn
our living by mostly vending and selling recyclable containers from
the Ngozi mine dumpsite. Our problem has been that criminals lie
to the police and say they stay in our area," she added.
has allocated 10 000 stands to reduce the number of people on the
housing waiting list to a phenomenal 88 000 people.
In an interview
on why council is delaying in sorting out housing for the illegal
settlers, a high ranking council official who required anonymity
said the Bulawayo City Council is doing its best to provide dignified
shelter to all residents.
He said "council
has relocated a total of 197 squatters from Killarney, Ngozi Mine,
and Trenance and has given them 200 square meters each in Pumula's
St Peter's area. We have been able to do this with the aid
of World Vision
and the IOM."
He said those
that were left behind shall be considered in the next phase of the
project. Asked on what council is doing to control the influx of
people to the slums in order to get land, the source said criteria
used by council in relocating the slum dwellers is assisting them
to deal only with legitimate cases only.
are three things that we look at before relocating a person. First
its either that person is from Bulawayo, second it's the number
of years that person has been living in the slum and lastly its
whether the person is known by the rest of the slum dwellers. We
shall remain vigilant and council shall not just watch the low-density
areas degenerating because of people who invite each other to the
slums from other cities. "
The United Nations
has designated the first Monday of October every year as World Habitat
Day. The idea is to reflect on the state of o towns and cities and
the basic right of all, to adequate shelter. It is also intended
to remind the world of its collective responsibility for the future
of the human habitat.
The theme for
this year was, 'Changing Cities, Building Opportunities'
because it is believed that cities are the engines of growth.
Since its inception
in 2002, Bulawayo Agenda has been part of the broader democratic
reform actors who have been putting pressure on the government to
respect human rights which include the rights to shelter, water
and maternal health.
In 2005 Bulawayo
Agenda was in the forefront in condemning the inhumane Operation
Murambatsvina which was sanctioned by the then ZANU PF government.
The organisation continues to call upon the national and local governments
to improve services delivery and people's lives.
Visit the Bulawayo
Agenda fact sheet
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