Residents evicted from Lot 15 Glentor in Chishawasha have expressed gratitude for help received after being relocated to Hatcliffe under difficult circumstances. Various private sector, civil society, and community groups stepped in to help the 480 families who had been settled on the Chishawasha land since 1984, and found the new site to be empty and lacking any services whatsoever.
The evictees are mostly former farm workers who remained on the land after the departure of their white employers more than thirty years ago. The land was bought by FBC Bank in 2008, and the financial institution finally evicted all of the roughly 1,000 occupants last month.
Government availed state land in Ward 42 to accommodate the community. The allocation of stands to families is currently underway.
In a statement, FBC said that the evictions were carried out as per a High Court judgement passed in 2013 under case number 12422/12.
“The case has been dragging since 2013 when FBC was granted an order by the High Court to evict the settlers. The illegal settlers were served with eviction summons two weeks ago (before the evictions) and some of them heeded the call and vacated. The remaining settlers were peacefully removed from the area… On humanitarian grounds, FBC has provided temporary shelter for the settlers as well as transport to move them and all their belongings to an alternative site organised by Mr Mudambo (MP for Harare North),” read part of the statement from FBC.
During a visit on 23 May to the new site, Harare News saw the evicted families adjusting to their new environment. There were tents of various sizes set up, and shacks made from wooden shed walls and plastic sheeting. Groups of men were clearing the land for the surveyors and building temporary toilets for the community. Children, many of whom are now unable to attend school, were playing in the dust around the shacks.
Community members expressed gratitude for what has been done for them, but also regret at how the eviction took place. Givemore Gwaze (56) said that FBC should have done more.
“We are happy and thankful that we are finally going to get our own stands, but we are hurt with the way we were moved because we lost much household property. FBC failed to provide adequate transport as per their promise. We left a lot of stuff at the old site, and it was stolen by looters,” said Gwaze, who also felt that the notice period was too short.
“Right now our kids are not going to school because the schools are now far away. We would also like to know if the bank will replace the church and pre-school that we had built,” said a dejected Gwaze.
MP for Harare North Tongesayi Mudambo has been active in helping the evicted residents. He said that his efforts to buy time for the community proved fruitless.
“I tried to ask for a two week extension since we were still sorting out permits for the new site, but they refused. In the end we had no option, but to move the people to the new site while we sorted out the stand allocations. I expect all people to have been allocated their stands within a few weeks,” said Mudambo.
Shumoyazvo Gutusa (36) is the leader of the evicted occupants. He said that he was grateful to organisations that had come forward to help in their plight. These include:
Mega Pak: 10,000 litre water tank
Meikles Foundation: 20,000 litres of water
Lucky Brand / Hindoo Society: 50 × 10 kg mealie meal and 50 blankets
IWIN: borehole, plastic sheeting, water, and 180 bags mealie meal
Glen Lorne Fellowship: 100 × 10 kg mealie meal
Chinese Business Association: 500 loaves of bread, 500 bottles peanut butter, blankets, balls for children, mealie meal, 5 litre water containers, septic tank and pipes
Netrade: 800 bottles of soda water
IOM: plastic water containers, 200 blankets, soap, petroleum jelly, NFIs
FX Logistics: produce
Honey Dew Greendale: vegetables
Miracle Missions: coordinating of donations
FBC Holdings: transport for relocation and tents
Miracle Missions who are actively coordinating donations said that the settlers are still in need of blankets, sugar, tea, milk (for the children), water, clothes and toys for the children, and toilets.
“Items can be taken directly out to the Hatcliffe area and all receipted through the people in charge. Alternatively please drop at Highlands Presbyterian Church (attention Miracle Missions),” said Jacqueline Anderson of Miracle Missions.