Zimbabwe: Senior Officials Face Land Probe

24 February 2021

Senior Government officials are under investigation over a scandal in which 410 residential stands were illegally allocated on wetlands in Gweru and the culprits will be compelled to compensate victims.

Land has since been identified to resettle the victims, most of whom have been driven out of their homes by floods.

The stands which were not approved by the Gweru City Council were developed in Ascot Extension wetlands, less than 20 meters from Gweru River.

Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities Daniel Garwe, during a tour of irregular settlements in Gweru on Friday said corruption did not have a place in the new dispensation.

"What I just saw is horrible to say the least. The President has given us a mandate to correct the wrong in our settlements. What I can assure you is that we can't let people stay at such places. Where councils and land developers are liable, they are going to face the costs of compensating the people," said Minister Garwe.

Environmental Management Agency Midlands provincial manager Mr Benson Bhasera told Minister Garwe at the site that the houses where not supposed to have been constructed in a wetland and close to Gweru River.

He said according to proper land management plans, houses or stands should be at least 30 meters from a river or wetland.

Midlands provincial development coordinator Mr Abiot Maronge told Minister Garwe that the houses were under Hlalani Kuhle/Garikai programme which had been abused by senior Government officers.

"Government started a beautiful housing programme to avail stands for its people under the Hlalani Kuhle/Garikai programme. It is unfortunate that the people in charge at the time decided to allocate a further 410 stands in a wetland," he said.

Midlands Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Larry Mavima said the province is ready to carry out the relocation exercise in a humane manner.

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