Survivors of the 2005 mass forced evictions in Harare, Zimbabwe, are threatened with another eviction if they fail to pay lease renewal fees to the government by 30 September. The up-front fee of up to US$140 is unaffordable for most residents, who are amongst Zimbabwe's poorest.
In June, the Ministry of Local Government, Urban and Rural Development posted written notices at Hatcliffe Extension, Harare, stating that all lease holders should pay for the renewal of their lease agreements by 30 September. The notice stated failure to pay would result in residents losing their land which would then be allocated to others on the government housing list. Since June, the residents have made several unsuccessful attempts to engage with the relevant authorities.
Residents at Hatcliffe Extension are amongst the poorest and most marginalised in Zimbabwean society, where the unemployment rate stands at around 90%. Many households have no means of meeting the amount set by the government because Operation Murambatsvina, as well as destroying homes, also destroyed the informal employment sector, depriving thousands of reliable income.
Hatcliffe Extension is a settlement on the outskirts of Harare with an estimated 15- 20,000 residents. The majority of residents are survivors of Zimbabwe's 2005 programme of mass forced evictions, known as Operation Murambatsvina (Drive out Filth) in which an estimated 700,000 people lost their homes, their livelihood, or both. It is one of a number of settlements set up under Operation Garikai - the government programme that was initiated in the aftermath of the mass forced evictions, ostensibly to re-house the victims of Operation Murambatsvina. The fact that survivors of Operation Murambatsvina are once more under threat of eviction demonstrates the inadequacy of the remedies offered under Operation Garikai.