OVER 32 families in Lusaka’s Chinika light industrial area have been left homeless after an investor claiming ownership of the land executed a court order to remove them from the area and demolished their houses.
Tesno General Dealers, a Lusaka-based company, is claiming ownership of the land which is situated at stand number 12923 on Mumbwa Road.
The demolition was conducted by a team from the Office the Sheriff of Zambia and police.
According to the residents, police in riot gear sealed off Mumbwa Road and the entire area while a bulldozer demolished the houses around midnight on Wednesday.
The residents’ spokesperson Crispin Chanda said the properties belong to the Lusaka City Council (LCC) and the occupiers are legally occupying them.
Mr Chanda told the Zambia Daily Mail yesterday that they are not squatters and have appealed to Government to intervene in the matter.
He said it is unfair and inhuman of Tesno General Dealers to demolish the houses when there is a Supreme Court order stopping them from executing the August 27, 2014 High Court judgment ordering them to vacate the place.
“We are, therefore, appealing to President Lungu and the Minister of Local Government and Housing John Phiri to intervene in the matter. We have all the rights to be here and we will not go anywhere,” Mr Chanda said.
He said the families have been paying rent to LCC and only stopped in 2008 after the council told them to do so, with a promise of selling them the houses as sitting tenants.
He said the families have tenancy certificates from the municipality and are only awaiting offer letters for them to buy the properties.
Supreme Court judge Albert Wood ordered on April 29, this year, that the execution of the High Court judgment dated August 27, 2014, stayed pending the determination of the appeal against the decision.
This is according to an ex parte order to stay execution of the judgment pending appeal, dated April 29 this year availed to the Daily Mail.
And Lusaka Province commissioner of police Charity Katanga said that she is aware of the demolition of the houses.
Ms Katanga said police were contacted by the Sheriff’s office to police the eviction of the squatters.