Image- Zim Independent, The Standard

The Harare City Council municipal police and officials have descended on the Hatcliffe Extension’s Consortium area razing about 10 houses.

The houses are said to have been built on council land reserved for a school, shops and other social amenities.

Since 2015 local authorities, particularly in Harare and Chitungwiza have embarked on a spree of house demolitions.

The local authorities have contended that the demolished houses were built “illegally” either on land that was reserved for other purposes or without the necessary procedures having been adopted.

Demolitions are not new and have similarities. In the days and weeks after “Operation Murambatsvina” (Clear Filth) was launched on 19 May 2005, police burnt, bulldozed and destroyed tens of thousands of properties around the country.

The destructions resulted in the mass evictions of urban dwellers from housing structures and the closure of various informal sector businesses throughout the country.

According to the United Nations, 700 000 people — nearly 6% of the total population — were forcibly evicted from their homes, made homeless or lost their source of livelihood.