Families left homeless after demolitions….. Chickens and puppies brutally killed
By Auxilia Katongomara
BULAWAYO – Four families occupying Willsgrove Farm on the outskirts of Bulawayo were yesterday left homeless after the Deputy Sheriff and the police demolished their homesteads.
The families were left in the cold after losing their houses, cash, livestock and dogs worth thousands of dollars at the farm which is about 12km outside the city along the Bulawayo-Gwanda road.
It was a touching moment as the families watched helplessly as their chickens and turkeys were tied together in fours before being suffocated in a sack by the officials.
The Deputy Sheriff and his team showed no remorse in their demolitions as they killed more than 2,000 chickens and a special breed of puppies in the process.
The families’ household property was loaded into trucks and later dumped in a bushy area near Manningdale suburb.
The demolitions started at about 2PM.
It is alleged the families were illegally occupying land owned by MacDonald Bricks.
The affected families yesterday told The Chronicle they were baffled as to why only four families were targeted for the demolitions as over 300 families occupy the contested farm.
One of the affected people, Moffat Ncube, a Zanu-PF political commissar for Ward 2 in Umguza District, said he had 16 children and they had lost their only home.
“I’ve been staying here for the past 28 years. I’ve 16 children. Where will we go now? I don’t even know where to start. I’ve been staying here since 1987. MacDonald Bricks only came here in 1994 and ordered us to vacate the land,” said Ncube.
He said he lost property worth more than $10,000.
Ncube said he was a poultry farmer who supplied 80 birds to different retail outlets in Bulawayo on a daily basis.
“I lost about 1,200 broilers, 500 chicks, 500 road runners and eight turkeys which were bound together by the police and Deputy Sheriff and thrown into sacks before they demolished all the structures.
“They randomly picked up the chickens, bundled them and tied their legs before throwing them into sacks. The birds were thrown into a truck,” said Ncube.
He said officials from the Deputy Sheriff last week came and issued them a week’s notice to vacate the area.
Ncube said they tried to plead with them for more time to no avail.
A tearful Monica Paradza told The Chronicle she had spent her entire life at Willsgrove farm.
“I was born, bred and married in this place. This has been my home and my grandparents are buried here. I’ve lost everything. We don’t even know what we’ll give our children or where we’ll sleep tonight (yesterday).
“This is the work of anti-Zanu PF elements because it’s only the four of us out of 300 homesteads who were affected. Why us?” asked Paradza shedding tears.
Sithabile Masuku, another victim, could not even respond to her children when they asked her what they were going to eat.
“Mama sifike sivela esikolo sathola indlu isidiliziwe. Manje sizalala ngaphi?” (Mum we came home from school and found the house demolished. So where will we sleep), asked the children.
Masuku told The Chronicle: “My in-laws have been living here since 1983. They own a mine just a few yards from here.
“That’s where we’re going to try and find accommodation for the night with my children.”
She said the Deputy Sheriff destroyed her five-roomed house and two-roomed cottage leaving them destitute.
“Our property was carelessly strewn near the road including the few surviving chickens, chicks, turkeys, household property including sofas, refrigerators, beds, wardrobes, food and stockfeed,” said Masuku.
SPCA animal inspector, Dumisani Sibanda, said his office had received a report of animal abuse.
He condemned the cruelty displayed to the animals.
“We understand that some livestock and dogs were killed in a cruel manner near Sunninghill suburb.
“The farmers have made a report and a charge will be preferred on the perpetrators,” he said.
Bulawayo provincial spokesperson, Inspector Precious Simango, said the duty of the police was to monitor and ensure the demolitions were done peacefully.
Comment could not be obtained from the Deputy Sheriff or MacDonald Bricks. The Chronicle