‘Investigate corrupt land allocations in Harare’

ENVIRONMENTAL pressure groups have called on duty bearers to investigate corrupt land allocation in Harare and bring the culprits to justice.

In a joint statement this week, the Cleveland Action Alliance, the Network for Environmental and Climate Justice and Residents Against Land Degradation expressed concern about the illegal allocation of land, including wetlands.

They said it was unfortunate that despite a legal framework ensuring environmental protection, Harare, like many other cities and towns, continued to witness illegal land allocations that compromised environmental sustainability.

This comes at a time when the government has issued a stern warning to landowners encroaching on private and state lands in Harare and other provinces against these illegal practices.

“We believe that Harare City Council is not decisively addressing the real cause of the proliferation of illegal settlements in Harare,” the statement said.

“The illegal and corrupt allocation of residential land initiated by corrupt landowners and municipal officials is a cause for concern that requires urgent action if this trend is to be ninked in the bud.”

The alliance also expressed concern that Harare City Council was turning a blind eye while houses are being built without following legal procedures for housing acquisition.

“We are concerned that Harare City Council has turned a blind eye to houses being built illegally and that there have not been thorough investigations by city officials to identify the real suspects within the council who we believe are colluding with landowners. to sell land to unsuspecting buyers.”

Environmental groups said the city of Harare should urgently carry out an investigation into the proliferation of illegal structures in the capital.

They said the council should provide alternative land to families affected by the demolitions as provided in the Constitution.

They said it was important to note that Harare’s future depended on environmental sustainability.

“This must be considered in the Harare masterplan as the outdated one has paved the way for chaotic land allocations that often ignore environmental sustainability,” the lobby groups said.

“In line with our vision of increasing community stewardship of the environment, we will continue to mobilize residents to resist environmental degradation through illegal land allocations and public interest litigation remains key in this regard.”

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