Harare resident sues council over parcelling of stands in wetlands



A HARARE resident has approached the High Court to compel the Harare City Council to cease the allocation of stands and construction of houses in Mabvuku wetland.

In his application, Ephraim Mutami cited the City of Harare and Prime Bricks (Pvt) Ltd as co-respondents.

He is also seeking another order directing the City of Harare to take necessary measures to remove all illegal permanent structures constructed on the Mabvuku wetland within 60 days of service of a court order.

In his declaration Mutami said he resides close to the Mabvuku wetland in Harare and is directly affected by any adverse activity on the wetland.

“The Mabvuku wetland is situated in the Harare municipality in Ward 20. The first defendant (City of Harare) is the municipal authority responsible for inter-alia, allocating stands and authorizing developments on all stands in Harare,” he said.

“The first defendant is unlawfully allocating stands for residential and industrial purposes on the Mabvuku wetland without an environmental impact assessment certificate or written approval of the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) for the housing or industrial project.”

Mutami further said the City of Harare was also unlawfully permitting and approving the construction of permanent structures on the wetland hence his application seeking an interdict against it.

“The structures being built on the wetland are being superimposed on pre-existing infrastructure for water, sewer and drainage pipes which service the local households and the infrastructure is being damaged in the process,” Mutami said.

“The residential and industrial structures being constructed on the wetland are not serviced by any sewerage or water facilities provided by the first defendant. This poses a real risk of water borne diseases like typhoid, cholera and dysentery to the plaintiff (Mutami) and his family and the Mabvuku/Tafara community at large.”

Mutami also said the construction of buildings on the wetland was likely to cause the drying up of the wetland which in turn would adversely affect the availability of water to the population in Harare, among other environmental problems.

“The second defendant (Prime Bricks) occupies one of the stands on the wetland allocated by the first defendant. The second defendant unlawfully constructed permanent structures on the wetland (and is) in the course of conducting its brick moulding activities, it is unlawfully excavating and drying out parts of the wetland without the written approval of EMA,” he said. The matter is pending.