Illegal settlers who invaded a piece of land belonging to Emmanuel Makandiwa’s United Family International Church (UFIC) in Retreat, Harare South, have been given a grace period to vacate the area by the church leader.

Reports are that the land had been earmarked for development of houses for Makandiwa’s followers.

UFIC secured a court order in September 2022 to demolish structures belonging to the invaders.

They were served with an eviction notice on November 21, but have stayed put.

In an interview, UFIC spokesperson Prime Kufa said Makandiwa had given the settlers a grace period to move out.

“The man of God implored us to consider the plight of the affected families, notwithstanding the fact that they are illegal settlers,” Kufa said.

“He instructed us to ask the sheriff to give the settlers time to pull down their structures and rescue their belongings.

“He said he is touched by their situation and also felt the anxiety among our church members who are bona fide owners of the land, thus his bid to find a win-win solution.

“Look, it is the rain season, it’s really a difficult situation but the prophet believes the temporary reprieve will give the settlers some time to find alternative accommodation.”

In separate interviews, the settlers said they were grateful for Makandiwa’s intervention and his decision to give them time to relocate. -Newsday