BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA
HUNDREDS of buildings constructed on wetlands across the country face demolition after a special committee was set up to remove the illegal structures.
The committee comprises officials from the Environmental Management Agency (Ema), police, the City of Harare, Chitungwiza Municipality, Ruwa Local Board and Epworth Local Board.
Harare Provincial Affairs secretary Tafadzwa Muguti said the committee would deal with the mischief by land barons who have been invading land reserved for other developments.
“There has been a resurgence of land invasions by land barons in Harare Metropolitan Province with land invasions taking place in most of our wetlands and land earmarked for development projects. Recently land barons invaded the Monavale Vlei which is one of the world’s acclaimed Ramsar sites,” Muguti said.
“The office of the minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution has, therefore, established a provincial taskforce comprising the Environmental Management Agency the Zimbabwe Republic Police, City of Harare, Chitungwiza Municipality, Ruwa Local Board and Epworth Local Board to address the menace of land barons.”
He said land in Mbare earmarked for housing stands and commercial buildings was invaded by space barons who took advantage of the delays in the approval of building permits by the City of Harare.
“The invasions across the province are largely influenced by the false belief that land invaders will be regularised by government under the ongoing land regularisation programme.”
“The taskforce shall remove all illegal land invaders, demolish any illegal structures and arrest all land invaders as well as the land barons responsible for selling land illegally. It is important to note that Harare Metropolitan Province has a zero tolerance policy on corruption and lawlessness,” Muguti said.
Zimbabwe is a signatory to the 1971 Ransar Convention on Wetlands, which emphasises conservation of wetlands that are regarded as natural flood controllers and carbon sinks that purify and supply water to streams and dams.
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