THE Environmental Management Agency (EMA) has slapped Nakiso Holdings, a local development consortium, with a $100 000 fine for illegally undertaking a construction project in wetlands around Cleveland Dam.
Construction work in the wetlands behind Donny Brook Motor Racing Course commenced a fortnight ago before Nakiso was granted an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) certificate by EMA.
The consortium, which is building a vocational college and plans to develop residential stands, was also ordered to halt all construction activities.
Contacted for comment, former Finance and Economic Development Deputy Minister Mr Terrence Mukupe who fronts the Nakiso consortium said there was nothing wrong with the project.
“You guys, who sent you to write that story? I have approval to build and I have paid inspection fees.
“You are not the only reporter from your stable to contact me about this story,” he said
An access road had already been constructed on part of the wetland.
The Cleveland Dam area and its catchment are protected by law.
EMA manager responsible for Harare Mr Robson Mavondo said the developer’s activities had been stopped.
“We are aware of the construction activities by the developer in the wetlands,” said Mr Mavondo.
“We have stopped them from continuing with the activities.
“We issued the consulting engineer of the project with a prohibition order and also ticketed them for their activities in the wetlands.
“The developer has not been issued with an EIA certificate, so those activities are illegal.
“There should not be any development in the wetlands without the authorising certificate.”
EMA inspector Mr Zivai Vilika issued a prohibition order to the developer’s consulting engineer, Mr Harrison Marange, on September 10.
Part of the order, seen by The Sunday Mail, reads: “I explained the purpose of the order to Harrison Marange in the presence of Malvin Gombwe.
“Now, therefore, under and by virtue of the powers conferred upon me under Section 37(4) of the Environment Management Act (CAP 20:27, I hereby order that: On or before 10/09/21 you are to cease all operations with immediate effect until you have received an EIA certificate issued by the agency.”
EMA also issued a $100 000 ticket on the same day for contravention of Section 97 of the Environment Management Act, which prohibits undertaking construction projects on protected areas without an EIA certificate.
Payment of the fine is due on September 21, failure of which the developer will be taken to court.
Last week, The Sunday Mail visited the site and witnessed construction work taking place, while some workers were setting up a steel shelter close to the Arcturus Road.
A bulldozer and tipper truck belonging to Enhanced Mortgaging and Housing (EMH) Private Limited were parked onsite.
EMH manager Mr Nicholas Mudekwa was said to be out of the office and was also not responding to calls on his cellphone.
Official documents obtained by this publication show that the Harare City Council leased the land — measuring 5 500 square metres — to Nakiso for sporting, educational and entertainment purposes four years ago.
Council spokesperson Mr Mike Chideme said the local authority’s finance committee approved the lease to the consortium on September 19, 2017.
“The item was approved in the finance committee and land leased to Nakiso (Pvt) (Ltd) as shown in the documents,” said Mr Chideme.
The documents show that a Memorandum of Agreement between the local authority and the consortium was adopted by a full council on September 29, 2017.
Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) programmes manager Mr Akili Rueben said the project was likely to affect the city’s water quality.
“The development is happening in the catchment of Cleveland Dam, which also feeds into Lake Chivero, where Harare’s water is coming from,” said Mr Rueben.
“The activities destroy wetlands that recharge water bodies and lead to siltation.
“If the project is allowed to go ahead, we are going to destroy the water source.
“Remember, council said it wants to decommission Prince Edward Dam because it has insufficient water because of siltation and it’s no longer recharging.”
EMA recently published the Wetlands Master Plan which guides spatial planning for local authorities.
Last year, the agency prohibited over 15 construction projects on wetlands.