‘Demolitions trigger criminal activities’

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HARARE – The Harare Residents Trust (HRT) and the Chitungwiza Progressive Residents Association (CPRA) yesterday expressed concern over rising cases of crime due to the ongoing demolitions.

Government last weekend rolled out demolitions of illegal structures in Mbare, Chitungwiza, Epworth, among other areas.

HRT director Precious Shumba told NewsDay that illegal activities were on the rise due to the rising unemployment in the country.

“What is fuelling crime could be high unemployment rate, drug peddling and abuse. Therefore, HRT urges central government and local authorities to prioritise the construction of modern infrastructure for informal traders,” he said.

Shumba blamed the sprouting of illegal settlements and high cases of criminal activity on the lack of proper town planning by the responsible authorities.

“Proper town planning requires that everything is done according to the town planning laws of a country. Zimbabwe relies on the Regional, Town and Country Planning Act (Chapter 29.12) to regulate and control land development. Illegal settlements and structures are created by knowledgeable people who know more about the operations of the local authorities,” he said.

“In the case of Harare, illegal structures and settlements have been created by council officials, councillors, political parties and other powerful actors who have continued to stand in the way of proper town planning. The majority of victims of demolitions have been paying money to individuals instead of paying council.”

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