17 July 2012

Tanzania: Owners of Demolished Houses to Pay 50 Million

Dodoma — OWNERS of 17 houses and 8 fences demolished last week by a joint environment division will pay for costs, amounting 50m/-, incurred during the operation.

The environment division comprised the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, the National Environment Management Council (NEMC) and the Kinondoni municipal authorities.The Minister of State - Vice President's Office (Environment), Dr Terezya Huvisa told a press conference on Monday here that according to the Environment Act of 2004, all those who had violated it would together foot the costs of the operation.

"The Act stipulates that if a person violates the Act like was the case with those in Kawe and Mbezi Beach areas, the costs that were incurred to demolishing the houses will be shared depending on the size of the demolition," she said.Dr Huvisa said that the demolishing of the houses in Mbezi and Kawe last week was no easy task as it involved a lot of reminders to people whose houses were later demolished, but they chose to ignore them and continued constructing.

She said that the operation was far from over and would continue to other parts of the country especially those buildings that were constructed along the beach front, water sources and low lands.

"Let me take this opportunity to sternly warn those living near water sources including farmers and pastoralists to evacuate these areas because the government will show no mercy when we get there," she said.Dr Huvisa explained that anyone who has a building within 60 metres of the beach front and 30 metres of rivers, lakes and other sources of water is violating the Environment Act and should move away.

She said that the steps were primarily meant to avoid the occurrence of another disaster like floods that claimed a number of lives in December last year, in Dar es Salaam."The effects of Climate Change are already quite visible and these include flooding. In order to ensure that flooding doesn't claim lives, we need to clear the paths of water," she said.

The Environment Minister said the house bearing number 219/2 that wasn't demolished because it was built on a reclaimed piece of land and that the owner had a court injunction and that they were waiting for the outcome of the case on September 20, 2012.She admitted that the big hotels that had build on beach plots were regarded differently because of being investors but declared that the issue of the beach being the right on any Tanzanian to enjoy applied to them as well.

"Every national has the right to the beach and therefore I would like to remind them that fencing is depriving the people their right to the beach," she said.Dr Huvisa said that one of her biggest challenges were court injunctions but being someone's right, there was little one can do. She said also that there was need to harmonise different Acts like Land, Environment and Natural Resources and Tourism for smooth operations.

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