Binga RDC in dilemma over illegal settlers

Source: Binga RDC in dilemma over illegal settlers | Newsday (News)

BY RICHARD MUPONDE

BINGA Rural District Council has lost millions of dollars in revenue after failing to deal with illegal settlers who invaded local safari concessions over 10 years ago, a council official has revealed.

Reports indicate that illegal settlers invaded six wards in the districts namely Sinakoma, Sinansengwe, Sinampande, Siabuwa, Chunga and Kabuba wards. The local authority now wants them evicted.

The move to evict them was unanimously endorsed by councillors in 2014 after hunters threatened to leave their concessions because of illegal settlers’ activities.

Council got an order to evict the settlers, but the settlers appealed to the High Court where the case has become dormant.

Binga RDC chairperson, Wilson Siampolomba on Friday confirmed the dilemma they have with the illegal settlers.

“The settlers have stayed put in the safari concessions. We got a ruling to evict them from these areas and eviction letters were issued out. They appealed to the High Court where the matter is still unresolved. We are supposed to evict them, however, we are still faced with the same problem,” Siampolomba said.

Binga council relies mainly on taxing hunting concessions for its revenue.

A quick check with the High Court revealed that the matter was struck off the roll, giving the illegal settlers a reprieve to continue occupying the land.

A court official who spoke on condition of anonymity confirmed that the matter was struck off the roll years back.

“The matter has been dormant for some time now. It was struck of the roll around 2015 and up to now it remained static. There is no one pursuing it,” he said.

However, the council said it was eager to see the illegal settlers evicted so that it starts collecting revenue from safari concessions to boost its coffers.

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