Zambia Railways gives squatters 14-day ultimatum

ZAMBIA Railways Limited (ZRL)
ZAMBIA Railways Limited (ZRL)

THE Zambia Railways Limited (ZRL) has given a 14-day ultimatum for traders and illegal squatters who have encroached on its land in Choma to vacate its premises or risk being evicted.
Choma Railways police officer-in-charge Collins Mukumwa asked the illegal traders at the infamous Makalanguzu market and squatters who have built make-shift stalls on the ZRL land to vacate the premises within a fortnight.
Last week, the Government-owned railway company, which was being run by a private operator until 2012, had announced that it would soon begin repossessing its land.
“Notice is hereby given to the effect that your make-shift stalls located in a non-designated marketing area is illegally mounted on prohibited land which belongs to the Railways.
“According to the Railway Act, the institution reserves the right to possession of 50 metres of land on each side of the Railway line which you illegally encroached,” Mr Mukumwa said in a letter dated February 20, this year, addressed to Makalanguzu marketeers.
He said the relocation of the illegal traders and squatters was inevitable because it is dangerous for any person to live or trade close to railway tracks, especially in an event where there was a derailment.
“My office would not be held responsible from a security point of view if there was any accident as the institution handles rolling stock, therefore, it’s against this background that 14 days’ notice is hereby availed to you for your relocation, failure to which you will suffer eviction,” Mr Mukumwa said.
A check at Makalanguza market yesterday found some traders selling their merchandise between the railway tracks.
Asked whether or not they received the notice of relocation, some traders who sought anonymity expressed ignorance but said they were willing to vacate the premises once the Choma Municipal Council (CMC) finds an alternative trading place for them.
And in a separate interview, CMC assistant public relations manager Robert Zawe said the local authority is renovating Shampande market where the traders will be relocated.

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