Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Youths target empty buildings in Bulawayo

Zanu-PF youths — in collaboration with senior party bigwigs — are spearheading the illegal invasion of buildings and properties in Bulawayo under the guise of empowerment.

A resolution passed in Bulawayo last week by Indigenisation Minister Saviour Kasukuwere, Zanu-PF national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo and Information and Publicity Minister Webster Shamu will now pave the way for Zanu-PF youths to take over nearly 70 unoccupied buildings in the city. Since August Zanu-PF youths have started invading buildings and property owned by Indians, Italians and the European community in Bulawayo. Invaded properties include the Italian-owned Pizzaghetti and the Maggos, Elons and Centenary buildings. Among these are some owned by the Esats family, a wealthy Indian family involved in textile and clothing businesses in the city.

Amen Mpofu, the deputy mayor of Bulawayo, said: “These invasions are making it really difficult for the city council to attract investors. The city council, in partnership with various stakeholders in the city, is working day and night trying to address the issue of company relocations in the city, but it seems other people have their own political agendas.”

Police have been criticised for treating the youth invaders with kid gloves, leaving scores of property owners crying foul. The owner of Maggos building, David Naidoo, said: “I was in South Africa when my caretaker informed me that my property had been invaded by Zanu-PF youths. After that I was forced to abandon my business in South Africa and flew back to sort out the issue. The youths refused to vacate my property and as I speak they are still camping on my premises.”

Despite repeated attempts by Naidoo to speak to Zanu-PF’s provincial leadership about the invasion of his property, the party’s leadership has maintained there will be no “backtracking” on the invasions. Meanwhile, a court judgment last week ordered the arrest of 10 Zanu-PF youths for invading several properties in the city.

It is understood from Zanu-PF insiders that companies which have shut down their operations in Bulawayo have been earmarked for seizure by the Zanu-PF youths.

According to the industry and trade ministry, nearly 87 companies have shut down in Bulawayo since 2010 and an estimated 20 000 workers have been affected by the closures. With Zanu-PF’s December congress scheduled for Bulawayo, party hawks are said to be increasingly pushing for quick action for company takeovers and have issued “a two-week ultimatum” to the leadership in Bulawayo to provide a comprehensive list of companies that can be reopened.

Vote for an informed choice

We’re dropping the paywall this week so that everyone can access all our stories for free, and access the information they need in the run up to the local government elections. To follow the news, sign up to our daily elections newsletter for the latest updates and analysis.

If our coverage helps inform your decision, cast your vote for an informed public and join our subscriber community. Right now, you can a full year’s access for just R510. Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.

Ray Ndlovu
Ray Ndlovu has been a correspondent for the Mail & Guardian in Zimbabwe since 2009. His areas of interest include politics and business. With a BSc honours degree in journalism and media studies, Ray aspires to become a media mogul.

Related stories


Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Latest stories

Mission implausible for the DA’s man in Nkandla

Malibongwe Dubazane is contesting all 14 of the IFP-run Nkandla local municipality’s wards

Andries Tatane’s spirit will drive fight against ANC in Ficksburg

The nascent Setsoto Service Delivery Forum is confident it can remove the ‘failing ANC’ in the chronically mismanaged Free State municipality

Paddy Harper: On gleeful politicians and headless chickens

Paddy Harper doesn’t know who to vote for yet, since the Dagga Party isn’t contesting his ward, but right now what to order for lunch is a more pressing concern

Malema: ANC will use load-shedding to steal votes

While on the campaign trail in the Eastern Cape, EFF leader Julius Malema, without evidence, claimed the ANC was planning to use rolling blackouts to ‘steal votes’

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…