BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
Government says the construction of flats for over 30 000 families removed from wetlands and undesignated places throughout the country would be complete by year end.
Addressing a post-Cabinet media briefing on Wednesday, Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said Treasury had set aside $200 million for the project.
She said the relocation exercise was part of government’s newly-approved national wetlands policy.
“Cabinet is informing the nation that the number of families in wetlands and irregular settlements stands at 31 257,”Mutsvangwa said.
“The provision of relief to distressed households at the Budiriro Hall holding camp in Harare and other sites is ongoing. Government intends to provide alternative accommodation for the households before the end of 2021 since the construction of flats for the relocation exercise is now underway at various sites.”
She said Treasury would fund the rehabilitation of 20 wetlands, two in every province before the beginning of the 2021/22 rainy season.
“The policy will facilitate the establishment of an effective and efficient institutional and legal framework for integrated management, and enhance capacity building within relevant institutions involved in the management of wetlands,” Mutsvangwa said.
“Government will designate all wetlands as areas that are unsuitable for settlement, gazette all ecologically sensitive wetlands, undertake orderly relocation of people in order to pave way for the rehabilitation of wetlands, and enforce the requirement for Environmental Management Agency certification for any developments in sensitive wetlands.”
She said Treasury had availed $200 million for construction of alternative accommodation to commence at the evictees camps in Highfield and Senga in Gweru, while construction of other accommodation structures was in progress for Dzivarasekwa, Harare.
Wetlands evictees are currently staying in tents at various camps established in affected towns and cities.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration has often accused the MDC-led urban councils of illegally parcelling out residential stands on wetlands and without the necessary amenities such as roads and sewage and water reticulation
Government has also declared war on land barons illegally parcelling out undesignated land to unsuspecting home seekers.
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