THE Kitwe City Council (KCC) has demolished houses constructed on illegally allocated plots and arrested 32 people involved in the activity in Kitwe’s Mindolo township.
In the early morning raid, a combined team of officers from the Zambia Police Service and KCC stormed Mindolo near the Chingola road cemetery and demolished several illegal structures before making the arrests.
A check by the Daily Mail crew found police officers patrolling the area while some of the illegal settlers tried to gather their household goods that were scattered.
Kitwe district police commanding officer Lizzie Machina, who was found at the scene, said the demolition exercise started around 03:00 hours and that 32 people had been arrested.
“We have been here since 03:00 hours with officers from Kitwe City Council. We were told some people have built houses on land which belongs to Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) and we are here to enforce the law,” Ms Machina said.
She said some of the people that have been arrested were found demarcating plots to unsuspecting residents.
Ms Machina referred further queries to the Copperbelt Province commissioner of police Joyce Kasosa who could not be reached for comment by press time.
And council public relations officer Dona Mbalwe said some unscrupulous people had invaded council land and that of MCM, allocating themselves pieces of land where they had built houses.
Ms Mbalwe said the illegal structures have been demolished because they were erected without authority from the council.
“We are going to spend about K129,000 to completely demolish the illegal structures in Mindolo township.
“The officers will continue patrolling the area for two weeks to ensure that the illegal settlers do not re their structures,” she said.
The local authority on Monday notified the illegal settlers to vacate the land for the officers to carry out the demolition exercise.
One of the affected residents, Patrick Kombe, is disappointed that the KCC decided to demolish the houses while people were still sleeping.
Mr Kombe said the residents followed normal procedure when obtaining the plots and wondered why the local authority was in a hurry to demolish their houses.
“During the campaigns for the general elections in 2011, we were promised pieces of land here in Mindolo township.
“It is our councillor who was allocating us plots here in Mindolo and we do not understand why the council demolished our houses,” he charged.
Mr Kombe said the people in the area have been left homeless with some of the household goods destroyed during the demolition exercise