Heavy Rains Expose Harare Illegal Settlers

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By Ndatenda Njanike

HEAVY rains being experienced across the country have exposed illegal settlers whose homes and household property have been left submerged in floods after being built on wetlands and riverbanks.

Due to the heavy rains, most of the settlers have either relocated or have found life difficult after properties have been soaked up.

Both corruption and a desperate attempt by councils to receive ready cash from home seekers have seen local authorities parcel out land on the environmentally sensitive areas.

Land barons have also fuelled the crime especially in Harare and Chitungwiza.

In a twit, the Harare City Council urged those who have settled on wetlands to abandon the areas and use proper channels to find genuine pieces of residential land.

“Those who illegally built on wetlands and are now facing access challenges to their ‘properties’, this is the time to see reason and agree with council. Remove the illegal structures and apply for proper housing land. Report the barons who sold you the land.

“This includes those who built on stream and riverbanks,” said council.

A wetland is a distinct ecosystem that is flooded by water, either permanently or seasonally, where oxygen-free processes prevail.

Zimbabwe is a Signatory to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of 1971 and has domesticated provisions for the protection of wetlands under the Environmental Management Act (Cap 20;27), Statutory Instrument 7 of 2007 on Environmental Management (Environmental Impact Assessment and Ecosystems Protection) Regulations and Government Gazette 380 of 2013.