The envisaged move by Hwange Colliery Company to demolish fifty of the company’s condemned residential houses in the Madumabisa area has come as disturbing news to the soon-to-be-affected families who contend that they ‘have nowhere to go’.
The latest developments come as the colliery company seeks to flush out multitudes of illegal inhabitants who have literally bloated the Madumabisa area, otherwise known as G West. The section has, in recent years, become the hub of illicit activities.
“This is not the first time the company has issued such threats, one wonders where they want us to go. We are poor people trying to eke out a living, we can’t even afford food at times, let alone rent. Yes, we do understand that the houses we are occupying were condemned but we have nowhere to go. This place has no power, we use other means to cook while there are no windows or doors and we have learnt to improvise,” said a man who stays in the area speaking on condition of anonymity.
According to a single mother of two, Bridget Ndlovu, the envisaged demolitions are unjustifiable as ‘not everyone in the area is a criminal’. Ndlovu also said she started living in G-West two years ago and that the place has since become her home.
“I came here in 2018 through a friend who told me there was a place I could temporarily find accommodation while I look for a job. This was meant to be a short-term solution but eventually this became my home as I struggled with my two children. It’s not all of us who are into crime and the eviction notice without alternative accommodation is something that is disturbing.”, she said.
The company’s acting managing director, Dr Charles Zinyemba, said in a recent notice that the move to demolish the decommissioned houses was necessitated by health and security reasons. The deadline for residents to vacate the decommissioned houses is 30 April, 2020.
On the other hand, the Greater Whange Residents Trust (GWRT) is solidly behind the move.
“As GWRT we are happy that the Colliery followed due process of evicting them. More than 50 families are going to be affected by this development. However, the houses indeed need to be demolished, the families are being exposed to toxic coal pollution.
The major problem is that different families come and go while criminals also seek refuge in those houses. We understand that the whole A section was decommissioned and it is common cause that the Colliery has not been evicting them because of accommodation shortages”, said GWRT Coordinator Fidelis Chima.