Housing Dispute: Ex-ZBC Employees Face Eviction from Flats

Residents Claim Ownership, Seek Alternative Solutions

by Victor Adetimilehin

Former Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) employees are facing eviction from their longtime residences after ZBC issued a 90-day notice to vacate the apartments.

In a letter dated January 29, 2024, ZBC investment executive James Chiwera told the occupants to vacate the flat.

“Please be advised that the ZBC will be embarking on extensive renovations of the Hatley House in line with the corporate strategy as well as to comply with the City of Harare’s public health bylaws.

“As a result, the contractor will be commencing exterior works effective January 29, 2024. You are given 90 days’ notice period to vacate the premises,” read the letter.

The dispute centers around the ownership of the flats, located at Hatley House in Harare. While ZBC claims the property and plans renovations, the residents argue they purchased the units through an employee credit scheme in the 1990s.

A Long History of Residence

The residents, many of whom have lived in the apartments for decades, view them as their homes. They raised families and built lives within these walls, emphasizing their long-term occupancy.

“For decades, these haven’t just been flats, they have been our homes,” said one ex-ZBC employee.

“Many of us have raised our families here, built our lives within these walls.”

While acknowledging the need for maintenance, they argued the eviction timeframe disregarded their long-term residency.

“We are more than happy to cooperate with reasonable upgrades,” the spokesperson said.

“But surely, alternative solutions can be found without pushing families onto the street, especially during a housing crisis.”

The residents claim to have documentary proof of purchase through the credit scheme. An affidavit submitted by a former ZBC director mentions the establishment of the scheme where employees contributed towards acquiring properties in Harare, including Hatley House.

The legal battle regarding ownership is ongoing, with a court decision pending.

Seeking Alternative Solutions

While acknowledging the need for renovations, the residents urge ZBC to find alternative solutions. They express a willingness to cooperate with reasonable upgrades but believe evicting families during a housing crisis creates undue hardship.

In an affidavit, former ZBC director marketing, administration and finance, Onias Gumbo, said he was instrumental in the establishment of an employee credit union where each employee would contribute some money every month for the purchase of the flat.

“These funds assisted in acquiring properties in Harare and other cities and some of the properties purchased in Harare include Copper Queen, Dick King Didsbury, Sendton Court and Hatley House (the property in dispute herein),” he said.

The residents face an uncertain future as the eviction notice looms. The court case will determine the ownership of the apartments. Finding suitable alternative housing during a housing crisis poses a significant challenge.

Source: Newsday Zimbabwe

You may also like

white logo with motto

The Zimbabwe Advocate is more than just a news outlet. We are a movement, a symbol of resistance against misinformation.

Latest News

© 2024 The Zimbabwe Advocate. All Rights Reserved.