A NUMBER of families have been left in the cold after the the Lusaka City Council demolished their residential houses in Chalala area even after the local authority received an undertaking from the owners of the properties to extend and regularise the residential areas.
The residents from Chalala area who have had their houses demolished have complained that some suspected Patriotic Front (PF) cadres had encroached into their properties but istead of the council demolishing the illegal structures, their properties were targeted and destroyed on the night of Saturday last week.
Charles Dindwe, Ibrahim Phiri and Collins Kashunda who were among the residents affected by the demolition exercise have appealed to President Edgar Lungu to come to their rescue because their families had been left in the cold.
They said the area where they had built their houses had been offered to them by the Lusaka City Council and they had paid all the service charges but were shocked that the council decided to demolish the same properties it had authorised.
They explained that the council, in circumnstances that were less than clear, had come up with two plans with the latest plan proposing the creation of 11 residential plots in Woodlands Extension which has led to the demolition of houses that were built long before the new plan.
The residential plots the council has created in the new plan have in fact been placed on what was the road reserve which have effectively displaced the old residences which were now a subject of demolition while others have already been demolished.
Mr Phiri told the Daily Nation that some suspected PF cadres had invaded their plots in connivance with some council officals were allowing illegalities in apparent disregard of the law.
“The council had offered us plots in Chalala area in Woodlands Extention and we had been asked to pay up to K10 000 for council services and the extention of the plots. And for the last ten years, we have been strruggling to get title deeds but the council has been procrastinating.
To our shock, the council came on the night of Saturday and demolished our houses, leaving a number of families in the cold. They have instead offered some people claiming to be more PF than others to share plots on an area which was a road reserve.
We spent a lot of money and our houses have been demolised and we have no where to go,” Mr Phiri said.
According to documentation from the Lusaka City Council and obtained by the Daily Natioon, the local authority recieved K750 000 (unrebased) on 8th May, 2012 on reciept number BF35552 being money paid for the extention of plot number 37570 Rockfield in Chalala area.
The property belonged to Mr Charles Dindwe who was among those whose houses were demolished on Saturday night and Mr Dindwe said the council should have listened to the appeals against the demolition order because the residents had paid the council for the plots.
Although Mr Dindwe’s property was demolished, he was offered certificate of title number 126004 for his plot number 37570 on 25th July, 2011 by the Ministry of Lands.
He complained that if the council had allocated plots to some party cadres on the same area they had declared illegal, they should have regularised the already constructed houses because the people in the area had been living in the same place for the last ten years.
But correspondence between the residents and Lusaka City Council reveal that the local authority had been against the extension of the plots despite having received the money.