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Families sleep in toilets

Lack of accommodation has forced about 50 Chinhoyi families to convert toilets into homes.

The families are from Shackleton – a dormitory mining area which used be a hive of activity during the golden era when mining was thriving in the country.

BY NUNURAI JENA

Public-toilets

Accommoation pro-blems have been exacerbated by the influx of abandoned workers from neighbouring farms who lost their jobs in the mayhem that was wrought by the forcible occupation of farms during the chaotic land reform programme

When The Standard visited Shackleton last week, some families were busy cleaning the toilets while others had moved their property into new dwellings.

Nomatter Tsomondo, a mother of six, said her one room was not enough for her family.

“I decided to turn this toilet into another room because I can’t be living with my adult children in one room that we are lodging. The situation is bad,” she said.

“Council has been promising us stands for a very long time; politicians only come with their promises during the election campaign period and vanish once they are in power.”

After countless promises that they would get stands to build houses, the residents decided to invade the toilets and converted them into dwelling places.

Angeline Mbirimi, who had just occupied another toilet, said they had for years failed to get a residential stand and promises by the council had yielded nothing, forcing them to turn a toilet into a bedroom for her and her four children.

Tsomondo said as long as she had a place to sleep, she did not care about the dangers of contracting diseases.

“My son, how can you talk of diseases when one doesn’t have a place to lay their head?” asked Tsomondo rhetorically.

Shackleton councillor Innocent Mangwanya (Zanu PF) said he saw nothing wrong with residents staying in toilets.
“These so-called toilets were last used as toilets long back, people came to us and we allowed them to convert them into homes,” he said.

“There is nothing wrong with that; after all, this will prevent thieves from stealing roofing
material from the toilets as was happening.”

Chinhoyi mayor Test Michaels said council was going to assess the situation to determine the help needed by the families.

About 12 000 people are on the housing waiting list in Chinhoyi.

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