ZVISHAVANE – Tenants of mine houses in the Hospital Section of Maglas suburb have complained that they are being arbitrarily evicted from their homes in a short-notice relocation exercise being carried out by Shabani Mine to make way for the Midlands State University (MSU).
The residents say they were never notified of the relocation exercise in a reasonable period of time in accordance with the occupation contracts they signed with the mine.
After the closure of the mine, the houses were rented to ordinary residents after an agreement that they will be given a three months' notice in case the mine wants them out.
The tenants are now angry and claiming that they are coming back home to find their household property thrown on to the streets and their doors locked. They say the mine is taking advantage of people with arrears in rentals to force everybody out.
"This is a clear violation of human rights and an abuse of authority. We are likely to see the growth of shanties around the town since many people have nowhere to go," said one victim of the operation.
Community Service Office (CSO) clerk in Maglas suburb, Shamiso Gwenzi confirmed the relocation exercise but refuted allegations that the mine was conducting an arbitrary eviction exercise.
"We are carrying out a relocation exercise in the Hospital Section but we are not simply throwing out our tenants. Instead, we are relocating them to other areas to pave way for Midlands State University structures to be constructed there.
Those who still have rental arrears will however have to find accommodation for themselves because we won't allocate them alternative accommodation," said Gwenzi.
Councillor Itai Pasira of ward 9said she had been putting efforts in trying to negotiate with the mine on behalf of the residents so that they could get their three months notices prior to being moved out.
She also said she was trying to negotiate for tenants with outstanding rentals so that they can be given a chance to make a payment plan.
The spread of MSU to Zvishavane has been met with mixed feelings among residents with some saying the move was good for the economy of the town while others claim the university is muscling residents and small businesses out of buildings.news