By Staff Reporter
Combine Harare Residents Association (CHRA) has said lack of departmental coordination, failure to follow town planning guidelines and corruption within the City of Harare (CoH) are contributing to the sprouting of illegal settlements across the metropolitan area.
CHRA Programs officer, Reuben Akili, speaking in an interview with local media on the issue of illegal land allocation, slammed CoH for approving some settlements in wetlands.
“I think there has been a disconnect between the council department itself. I think that is the first problem. We must first admit that it will help us a lot,” said Akili.
The programs officer gave the example of stands allocation in Tafara near Lafarge Cement.
According to Akili, the area was pegged by CoH despite it being a wetland.
“In Tafara near the Lafarge cement, that area was allocated by CoH. I remember the planning guys there pegging stands there and when you go there it’s purely a wetland and even people who are residing there, the area near the Lafarge and Mabvuku cemetery,” he said.
Akili added that CoH was failing to utilize a wetland map provided by the Environmental Management Agency (EMA).
EMA came up with a map highlighting wetland areas in and around Harare.
“Some of the land that has been allocated by the City itself, they have failed to use the EMA wetlands map.
“Lack of the use of that map in spatial planning esp in COH has been a major problem because that map then informs us to say, can we construct on this land or not,” he said.
CoH Corporate Affairs Manager, Stanley Gama said there are reports of some land barons manipulating the provision in the regional town planning act for regularization and conniving with some city officials.
“Council does not issue stands in wetland and anyone doing so is doing it illegally. There are reports of council employees conniving with land barons to issue out land,” said Gama.
The council spokesperson said the matters were being investigated and some land barons had already been arrested.
Recently, hundreds of houses that were illegally allocated in wetlands around the Budiriro 5B Extension and Kuwadzana paddocks were submerged in water following a stint of incessant rains.