GOVERNMENT through the Office of the Vice President has assigned officers to assess the prevailing situation in Kitwe’s Mindolo North area where people are spending nights in the cold after their houses were razed down by Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) over the weekend.
ZANIS reports that sheriffs from the Kitwe High Court executed an order and demolished over 50 houses illegally built on land belonging to the mine after it obtained summary possession for farm number 840 – 1469.
A check by ZANIS this morning discovered that the affected families are spending nights at Luyando community school playground where they have also shifted their household properties.
Addressing the affected families, Kitwe City council (KCC) Director of Planning and Social Services Anthony Mwenya told the squatters that officers from Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) have been deployed to carry out physical verification.
Mr Mwenya said government is concerned with what is prevailing on the ground and that information is needed to enable it mobilize resources to cushion the impact.
Mr Mwenya assured the squatters that government will assist them only when needs are identified.
“I have been sent by the office of the Vice President to lead a team of officers to physically assess what your needs are noting that you have been left homeless. Your government is concerned with what has happened and it is ready to come to your aid,” he said.
Meanwhile, squatters interviewed have asked government to come to their aid by providing tents.
One of the affected, Mary Mulenga narrated that she has six children with the youngest being one year old.
“We are asking government to quickly send tents as you can see we are spending nights in the cold. My worry is that the children are being exposed to the cold at night while my other worry is that we can be beaten by snakes or poisonous crawling insects.
As you can see, we are just sleeping in the open and environment is not hygienically conducive because the community school only has two toilets. The population here is huge!” she lamented.
And another squatter who asked for his identify to be withheld said plots were being awarded to the squatters by Luyando community board and not sanctioned by the council.
He said the cost varied between K3 thousand and K5 thousand depending on the size.