GOVERNMENT has with immediate effect banned all construction works across the country and directed local councils to ensure that the directive is enforced.
The move is aimed at curbing what has been described as rampant illegal allocation of land and to further curb construction of structures that have not been approved by councils.
This was announced at a joint media briefing by Local Government and Housing Minister, Nkandu Luo and her Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection counterpart, Wylbur Simuusa in Lusaka yesterday.
Meanwhile, Professor Luo said she would soon announce the names of people involved in the Lilayi land scam, which resulted in suspension of the Lusaka City Council by the MMD government last year.
She hinted that the revelations would be "shocking to the nation", especially that the Patriotic Front Government's findings were contrary to the report at hand.
Prof Luo said the Government was concerned with the continued illegal allocation of land by unscrupulous people as well as the indiscriminate construction of structures without due regard to the Town Planning Act.
"Zambia is not a failed State to entertain such lawlessness to take place with impunity. There is a democratically elected Government with the full mandate of the majority of the people of Zambia to legitimately preside over the national affairs, including administration, management and allocation of land for various development purposes," she said.
She said the Government had the duty to protect the interests of the majority citizens by enforcing laws, among them, those pertaining to land allocation and building permission.
"I have since directed all councils to develop service charters in the allocation of land which should clearly stipulate the process of acquiring land.
"As a first step, councils should advertise in the public media any piece of land they wish to allocate. The duration of the advertisement should be stated and when interviews should be conducted," she said.
She said after the interviews, all applicants should be informed of the outcome, and successful ones should be informed when they would get a letter of recommendation or offer for them to take to the Ministry of Lands for title deeds.
"No construction should take place before obtaining building permission from the respective council. To this effect, I am hereby directing that all those who are building must stop with immediate effect until the authenticity of their letters of offer and building permission are verified by their respective councils," Prof Luo said.
She directed councils to immediately swing into action to enforce her directive by going round townships to demolish any structures being built without approval.
The minister advised those that had obtained land legally to go to their respective councils for verification of the authenticity of their offer letters to avoid demolition of their structures.
She warned those that were building commercial properties such as bars and taverns in residential areas or next to schools or churches and health centres that Government was not going to allow such lawlessness to continue.