Harare Metropolitan Province Secretary for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Tafadzwa Muguti, said that all houses and developments around the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport area, including Arlington Estate and Retreat suburb face demolition.
Muguti said the developments in the Arlington and Retreat areas were done in violation of the Civil Aviation Act and the Airports Company of Zimbabwe Act.
He said all the houses that are within the red zone affect the operations of the airport and should therefore be demolished.
Muguti revealed that the Government was approaching the courts for a demolition order. He said:
As it is, the bulk of Retreat developments which have happened between February last year and today, you can see them from Seke Road, are all in the red zone meaning that anything can happen.
They are prone to disaster. We are approaching all courts and following all laws.
All the houses, which are sitting within the red zone are going to be demolished, all of them. The law is the law.
The Arlington development, in the first place, was not supposed to be in that zone.
So, the further expansion of Arlington is a risk to the operations of the airport in its entirety.
All the houses, all the developments in the Retreat airport area are going to be demolished.
Meanwhile, Harare Residents’ Trust director, Precious Shumba, criticised the Government and Harare City Council for not acting early to prevent the developments from taking place. He said:
The authorities should have ensured compliance with the Original Town and Country Act.
We have had these land developers and land barons who were involved in developments that are not in line with the Act for years.
These illegal settlements have taken place while authorities were watching.
For a long time, Hatfield residents raised concerns about these settlements but nothing was done.
Government now needs to exercise its authority in this instance because the land around airports is considered to be a national security issue.
Government should not beat about the bush, they must stop these developments and protect State land.
Some of the homeowners in the area reportedly bought the stands from private developers and land barons, some of whom did not regularise the stands with the Harare City council.