Five thousand African squatters have been told that their shanty dwellings in Harare Township -- two miles from the centre of Salisbury -- are to be demolished.
GV PAN shanty town area
SV PAN shanty town dwellings
SV Mother and children by fire
GV PAN area
INTERVIEW BEGINS - SOF STARTS: "Why pull it down?" ANSWER: "Well, this conflicted.. SOF ENDS: "...at all." CU official
SV People cooking
SCU Sister Margaret talking to Africans
MS Children in bath
SV & GV PAN shanty area (2 shots)
A transcript of the commentary and interview follows:
Five thousand people live in this township of cardboard and plastic; it's grown from nothing in less than a year. Africans come from remote areas to the city to look for work. There's very little and they swell the ranks of the un-employed -- the people officially called loafers and vagrants. There's also a severe shortage of accommodation, so they build their own. Not everyone lives in squalor. For some the plastic bag huts are their homes, and not just shelters from the rain. They're somewhere to live with their wives and families when the township authorities just can't cope with the demands for houses.
TRANSCRIPT: SEQ. 5: INTERVIEWER: "Why pull it down?"
OFFICIAL: "Well, this conflicted with the medical officer of health's certificate, and we were compelled to comply with his regulations to get it down. We are governed here -- as in any other country -- by the authorities responsible for public health. In this shanty town which we're discussing now, we've had two cases of typhoid which have broken out -- now we don't know the contacts of this people because it's a shanty town. And the result is the whole thing is...er...well...it's hazardous to human health, so of course we've now decided to take it down completely."
INTERVIEWER: "Are there any other reasons for its removal?"
OFFICIAL: "No. No other reasons. They're actually breaking the law, they're illegally in the city itself. Because you know the law here is that unless the person is legally employed, then he had no rights in the city at all."
Few Rhodesian Europeans ever come to an African township. Fewer still come to Old Bricks -- namely policeman, journalists and missionaries.
Sister Margeret of the Roman Catholic Church helps one African widow who she first saw on day standing in the rain trying to sell vegetables. Old Bricks is to be removed -- the Salisbury City Council is determined about this. The say they're going to clean up the townships and they're going to do it efficiently and quietly. But the people here say they've nowhere to go -- they've no ties in the tribal lands, often no money. They say that if they're thrown out, there's nothing they can do but make their way back and rebuild their shanties.
Initials OS/1520 OS/1531
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Five thousand African squatters have been told that their shanty dwellings in Harare Township -- two miles from the centre of Salisbury -- are to be demolished.
Under Rhodesian law, only employed persons can stay in the city. The authorities claim also that they pose a health threat.
The first phase of the demolition was completed on Tuesday (April 4th) and was due to be finished the next day.
Many of the shanty-dwellers are wives and children of men living in single rooms on the adjoining official township.
A. B.B.C team filmed the area before the demolition had begun. A reporter comments throughout. We provide an alternative commentary overleaf.