THE Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) says it is ready to assist the 72 families in Lusaka’s Villa Elizabetha area who were evicted from the ANC flats three weeks ago if they left the premises and found a neutral place where aid would be given to them.
DMMU national coordinator Patrick Kangwa told the Daily Nation yesterday that the unit has put measures in place to ensure that the displaced families were assisted with their basic needs but that it was constrained because of the place where they are.
He explained that the DMMU committee sat to discuss the plight of the families soon after they were forcefully removed from the premises three weeks ago and resolved that the families needed assistance in the form of shelter and food but the tenants’ resolve to remain at the flats had made it difficult for DMMU to fulfil its obligation.
“We have put measures in place to ensure that families are helped and we have made it clear to the families that we will assist them as long as they found a neutral place where we can freely come in and provide them with necessities.
“However, this group has insisted that it will not leave the premises and so we are handicapped to help them because we do not want to interfere with the legal process. We do not want to interfere with the legal process and if they can finish their legal battles, we can help them even today,” Mr. Kangwa said.
But the 72 families at ANC flats have vowed to spend nights outside, seeking justice to prevail after they were evicted from the premises. The tenants were evicted following a directive from the police.
The residents have now engaged lawyers to take legal action. The residents accused the police of having victimized them, saying a number of their goods had been stolen because the eviction was done during the night and in the dark.
They told the Daily Nation that they lost property worth thousands of kwacha as both the police and unknown people took advantage of the dark to rob them.
There has been misunderstanding on who owns the flats, and it was alleged that Women for Change was reported to have won the case in the Supreme Court, but the tenants claimed that the premises belonged to Star Furniture and not the ruling ANC of South Africa.