Some residents have started building new structures on Soche Hill in defiance of a Blantyre City Council (BBC) vacation order.
A visit to the area yesterday showed that some people are developing new settlements at the foot of the hill which last year experienced mudslides that destroyed some houses, injuring and killing residents.
In a telephone interview, BCC chief executive officer Alfred Chanza said while the council is exercising leniency on the people to give them time to find alternative settlement areas, the council would not allow any further developments of the illegal settlements.
He said: “Initially, we wanted to demolish the settlements outright, but on second thought we reasoned that these people need to be given time to find other places where they can live. Some have already moved to South Lunzu where we identified plots. But obviously we cannot allow further development in those areas.”
BCC targeted to move out illegal settlers from Soche, Mpingwe, Bangwe and Ndirande hills to avoid triggering environmental problems.
However, Afiki Mdala, who is constructing a new house on the hill, said the people had no choice but to continue expanding the settlement.
“The population is growing and you can understand the situation. We need more space as this is where we call home,” he said.
Records indicate that the council early this year identified about 65 plots in Machinjiri Township where it was going to allocate people moved from the hill.