The Bulawayo City Council is in a dilemma about what to do, after nine residents notified it that their properties, which had approved plans, were destroyed during Operation Murambatsvina in June and July.
Town Clerk Moffat Ndlovu said the council could only respond after seeing what action the residents would take because they could institute legal action against the relevant authorities.
He said that the council would have no option but to state its position if it were cited as a respondent. Three properties were destroyed in Lobengula, two in Mpopoma and one each in Njube, Pelandaba, Pumula and Luveve.
The special United Nations Report that looked into Operation Murambatsvina quoted the Ministry of Local government as stating that 7 959 families were affected by the operation in Bulawayo. It said 4 904 illegal structures as well as 4 915 illegal small and medium enterprises structures were destroyed during the operation.
The Bulawayo City Council said more than 3 000 legal vendors were affected by the operation costing the council over $60 million in revenue a month.
Executive mayor Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube said it was ironic that the government had destroyed properties that had been approved by council yet it had failed to destroy a squatter camp in Matshemhlope which was now a headache for the council.
The council’s environmental management and engineering services committee complained that council staff were resorting to threatening the squatters because they could not remove them because of the shortage of fuel.
The committee said that the squatters only changed camp after the threats and came back two or three days later
Councillors said the government had to look for a permanent solution to the squatter problem because removing them and dumping them outside the city was not the solution. They would just return to their camps.