SOME say it is among Manicaland’s crime hotpots
A weird unwritten pact here says: “What happens in Mahalape stays in Mahalape”.
Whoever “snitches” about what goes on here is labelled a sell-out and therefore on countless occasions, residents have looked the other way as criminals go about their business.
Mahalape, which is sandwiched by Mutare’s high-density suburbs of Sakubva, Chikanga and Hobhouse; offers the lowest rentals in Mutare the city — an average of USD10 per month for a room.
Due to this, thousands of people call the pole and dagga, wood and zinc sheets, as well as plastic and wood structures their homes.
Christened Bodyslam, the settlement also allegedly harbours criminals and undocumented nationals, including those from neighbouring Mozambique.
Shebeens are also dotted across Mahalape.
During a recent visit to Mahalape, The Manica Post stumbled upon Ms Shylet Godi’s heart-rending story.
Her eight-year-old daughter was allegedly raped by two men last year.
Some of the shacks that are being occupied by the people of Mahalape
The suspects are still at large despite the fact that they stay in the same area.
Ms Godi says she did not make a police due to fear of being labelled a liar or a sell-out.
“I honestly do not understand why they did not hire the services of sex workers; we have a lot of those here. Instead, they raped my child and destroyed her future and on top of that, people have started labelling me a liar, even though it was very visible that my daughter had been sexually assaulted.
“My daughter was coming from school when some men abducted her. She said as she was on her way home, she was shoved into a Honda Fit and they sped off with her. There were two men and one woman. She was drugged, raped and indecently assaulted.
“After that they kicked her out and when she came home she told us what had happened. We almost made a police report but decided not to after the policeman at the station told us to come back the following day. Besides, the men had already disappeared,” said Ms Godi.
In an interview, another resident, Mr Kudzanai Jongwe said many crimes are going unreported in the area.
“I have been renting in Mahalape for some years now and many crimes go unreported. A lot of things happen and no one cares. In fact, this is the perfect hide-out and we have had criminals come to hide here when they are on the police’s wanted list,” said Mr Jongwe.
He said undocumented Mozambicans also rent rooms in Mahalape and conduct their business in the city.
“Mozambicans smuggle their shoes into the country and sell them from their rented rooms here but no one even cares because here in Mahalape we are one people and we do not rat out others,” he said.
Another resident, Ms Betty Maisiri said Mahalape comes to life at night as ladies of the night conduct their business from the settlement’s various shebeens.
“Chikanga residents have complained about the noise that emanates from the Mahalape shebeens all night long,” she said.
One of the areas’ leaders, Ms Viola Munakami said sex work and shebeens are now a nuisance that needs to be done away with as they are promoting drug abuse and thievery.
“It is really painful that our children are turning to prostitution and abusing drugs. The plague of sex work is haunting us. It is as if all sex workers are now renting rooms in this area. The area has been turned into a haven for sex work and crime,” said Munakami.
In a recent interview, Mutare City Council’s Acting Town Clerk, Mr Blessing Chafesuka said the local authority hopes that a solution to the city’s informal settlements will soon be found.