Thousands of Harare residents occupying council houses risk eviction following a warning by the Harare City Council for them to settle their debts within 14 days failure of which they would be evicted without further notice.
The warning to residents was issued on January 30, 2017.
Residents from high density suburbs of Dzivarasekwa, Mabvuku, Tafara, Glen Norah and residents occupying Mbare hostels are most likely to be affected.
Read the notice by the Harare City Council, “Harare City Council is advising all tenants occupying residential and commercial properties such as shops, offices and industrial sites (developed or undeveloped) to settle their rentals within 14 days from the date of this notice or face eviction without further notice.”
The eviction warning by the Harare City Council also applies to “former council employees, their dependents, tenants and all those in illegal occupancy of council buildings”.
Council has however hinted that they are willing to enter into debt settlement arrangements with defaulters.
The failure by residents to pay their debts has largely been attributed to the dire economic situation in the country which has seen the unemployment rate ballooning to over 90 percent.
Besides threats of eviction, the Harare City Council has also unleashed debt collectors on defaulting residents around Harare.
Wellcash (Pvt) (Ltd) Debt Collectors, who are charging an extra 10 percent of hat residents already owe to council, have been issuing threats of attachment of property to defaulting residents.
This is despite the fact that in Zimbabwe, there is no Act f Parliament that allows debt collectors to attach property or issue threats on behalf of creditors.
On the issue of impending eviction of defaulting residents, the Combined Harare Residents Association calls upon the Harare City Council to consider all relevant circumstances before evicting the residents.
Section 74 of the Zimbabwean constitution which guarantees freedom from arbitrary eviction is clear that evictions must be done through an order of court which shall be made after considering all the relevant circumstances.
The Combined Harare Residents Association reiterates its commitment to protect the constitutional rights of residents such as the right to shelter, freedom from arbitrary eviction as well as the right to clean, safe and portable water among others enshrined under the Declaration of Rights.