Thousands of families in Mbare that have waited for over 40 years to be granted home ownership by the local authority face eviction over alleged non-payment of rentals.
Our publication is in possession of one of the eviction orders from the finance department with a debt of $21 000 given to the tenants in Mbare Joburg lines.
“Please be advised that since you have ignored various reminders and notices to clear the outstanding rental arrears you are hereby served with a notice to vacate the property to avoid continuous prejudice to council.
“Failure to pay monthly rentals is a serious breach of the agreement of lease which mandates the city of Harare to evoke the conditions of lease and recover holding costs from the same,” reads the eviction notice.
The eviction notice also states that: “Council will initiate litigation proceedings to evict you or whosoever derives the illegal occupation from you without further notice.
“Also take note that failure to liquidate the legacy debt incurred by yourself will also result in you being blacklisted as a delinquent debtor.”
A tenant, Mrs Esther Katamboni whose parents have been tenants at their Mbare place since birth in 1957 pleaded for the council to give them home ownership.
“Considering the time we spent here we have literally finished paying for this house. We have been paying for these houses for so long but rather they are talking about taking these houses. We deserve to be given title deeds,” she said.
“The city council is not even repairing water taps and the drainage system is dilapidated,” she said.
Granny Katamboni said at some point council officials attempted to offer her a two-roomed house when Crowborough stands were commissioned, but the initiative died a natural death.
Another tenant, Mrs Deria Chunga said they needed dialogue with council.
“The rates being charged by the city are exorbitant and we need to find a common ground. We have been paying for these houses for so long and we thought they could be lenient with us,” she said.
Mr Gideon Maraire who grew up in the area said the council should be a bit lenient with the tenants as failing to pay the rent is a clear sign that most of them are struggling to make ends meet.
“Some people live as families and most are unemployed and are even struggling to pay rent. So evicting them is never a solution,” he said.