Opposition leader and former prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, on Thursday appealed to the Movement for Democratic Change-led Harare City Council to prioritize unplanned settlements like Hopely in the provision of infrastructure and sanitation to prevent an outbreak of diseases.
Addressing Hopely residents in Harare South, Tsvangirai said it was disturbing that 10 years after it was set up, the settlement does not have proper houses, water and sanitation facilities, leaving local people exposed to waterborne diseases.
He said council must regularize the settlement and provide water and sanitation to all unplanned settlements sprouting around the city.
Residents told the former prime minister they were building structures haphazardly and drinking unprotected water from wells while council did not provide any service.
Officials at the local clinic, which serves about 120,000 residents, said waterborne diseases like diarrhea are rampant in the area.
Harare Mayor, Bernard Manyenyeni, who accompanied Tsvangirai, said council is committed in tackling the residents’ problems but is hamstrung by the shortage of resources.
He added that the problem of unplanned settlements was as a result of government’s failure to adhere to proper urban planning procedures.
Hopely and other unplanned settlements like Caledonia were created to accommodate thousands of Harare residents whose houses were destroyed during Operation Murambatsvina or Operation Remove Filth in 2005.
Residents were told to build proper structures as government said the settlements were temporary. But 10 years on the government has not provided permanent homes to the victims.