RUNDE Rural District Council (RDC) faces resistance from about 50 families it intends to evict to pave way for the upgrading of Vugwi Business Centre into a growth point.
The business centre is about 22km from Zvishavane town and falls under Runde RDC.
The affected villagers have vowed to resist eviction without compensation.
According to minutes of the Runde RDC meeting held on September 23, 2020, the local authority acknowledged the villagers’ concerns.
“The community had requested to be shown boundaries of the growth point,” part of the minutes read.
“The local community was concerned that the stands were being allocated to people from other areas, hence they request to be accorded equal opportunities. There was need for council to put temporary boundaries at rural service centres and at growth points to avoid issues of illegal settlers.”
The council had resolved that the identification of the boundaries must be done this month before the issuance of settlement permits.
However, it did not mention anything about compensation or where the villagers would be relocated after the evictions.
The villagers accused the council of being insensitive to their plight.
“There was no clear communication from the council, except that we were told that we will be evicted because we are in the confines of the RDC. We tried to engage them, but they just promised that they will meet us, but so far nothing has materialised as we are still in the dark,” one villager, who preferred not to be named, said.
A female villager who also faces eviction said she had already sunk a borehole and electrified her home. “We will approach the courts if they insist on their ill-conceived move,” she said.
Zimbabwe People’s Land Rights Movement co-ordinator Hillary Zhou said: “Such evictions are illegal and council should be liable to damages and legal actions from the victims. As an organisation, we will assist victims in seeking reparations.”
Runde RDC chairperson Godern Moyo ignored questions sent to him after initially feigning network problems when contacted for comment.
Photo: Runde Rural District Council offices. Source: Runde RDC.