EMA Fines Chitungwiza $24 000 For Illegally Issuing Housing Stands On Wetlands

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By Ndatenda Njanike

THE Environmental Management Agency (EMA) this week fined the Chitungwiza Town Council $24 000 for illegally issuing some stands on wetlands in Ward 12.

EMA spokesperson Adkins Mudii stated the Chitungwiza Council as a local authority had failed to comply with the ecosystems Protection Law.

“Chitungwiza Town Municipality was fined RTGS 24 000 as prescribed by SI 7 of 2007, which talks about ecosystem protection.

“An order to stop all the constructions on the wetland was served to the council until an ecological assessment has been done and until a prospectus has been submitted to EMA,” said Mudii.

Chitungwiza Residents Associations, which has been advocating the preservation of wetlands in the sprawling town, welcomed EMA’s order to stop all constructions on the wetlands.

Chitungwiza Residents Trust (CHITREST) Ward 12 coordinator Philip Makaripe viewed the order to stop all housing development on wetlands as a step in the right direction.

“We applaud EMA’s efforts to issue an order to cease all construction operations on endangered wetlands in ward 12. Stopping the construction of illegal structures is a positive stride in the noble fight to preserve our wetlands,” he said.

However, land barons continue to defy EMA’s Environmental Protection Order to stop land developments and are parcelling out residential stands to desperate home seekers.

Mudii warned the developers that defiance to halt construction operations on wetlands would be met by court prosecution.

“The order has been given to the council to stop construction. Failure to do that, a docket will be opened,” he said.

Early this year, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) and the Harare Wetlands Trust (HWT) supported the introduction of tougher legislative measures to stop ongoing developments on wetlands.

Wetlands are water catchment areas that act like giant sponges, absorbing, and purifying water. The water comes in handy, especially during dry seasons.