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Makokoba residents fall victim to false information

Makokoba residents fell victim to a disinformation campaign after messages were circulated claiming that the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) was planning to demolish their houses to make way for a modern settlement.

Disinformation is deliberately crafting false information, in its worst form, it involves building up a narrative based on fabrications and misrepresentations. 

This is after the local authority convened a meeting with residents on Friday to discuss service delivery issues.

Unknown people misinformed residents that the agenda of the meeting was to discuss the demolition of their houses.

In response, the residents came out in their numbers to the meeting at Stanley Hall and they were relieved after being informed by council officials that the issue was not on the agenda.

“I appreciate this meeting but I want to warn the organisers of the meeting who came to us lying that our houses are going to be demolished, that is a crime, it shouldn’t be like that, can it be the last time,” said one resident.

“If it is a council meeting, the message should come as it is because we have old people here and they are sick they might die due to such information. The housing issue is not a joke and we want an apology from that person.”

However, in response, Dingane Khanye from the BCC housing department dismissed the circulating message as false.

“Let me start by addressing the big elephant in the room, I am sure some of you came here because you were told that your houses are going to be demolished and that message also got to us but I am not aware of the demolitions. As your administrator I was not told, I asked the directorate and they also said they were not aware, maybe it is coming from other areas,” said Khanye.

He said the demolitions will require a lot of money and the local authority is incapacitated.

“We are the ones looking at these areas, so I am not aware of that and it will need a lot of money but as you have heard, the Council is struggling and failing to improve service delivery because it has no money,” said Khanye.

Khanye added that Makokoba is a major part of the city’s history.

“Makokoba has our history, so who wants to destroy that? Makokoba is the face of Bulawayo, there are houses of our heroes who fought for our liberation, the likes of Jason Ziyaphapha, who would want to destroy our history,” he said.

He said the local authority has a plan to develop and modernise Makokoba.

“The demolitions will also affect us residents who do not stay in this area because this place has our history. We are saying let Makokoba develop and be modern,” said Khanye.

Makokoba is the oldest township and the first Black African suburb in the city.

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