BY MOSES MATENGA
HARARE has approved dozens of settlements across the metropolis that were initially deemed illegal, a development observers said would benefit politicians and land barons who grabbed the land without following procedure.
Several settlements were condemned by town planners as they were built without proper sewage reticulation system and approval from the local authority among other requirements.
According to a Justice Tendai Uchena Land Audit report presented to President Emmerson Mnangagwa, but has been kept under wraps since 2019, several politicians aspiring legislators and councillors in Harare used land to rally for votes.
The council and State, according to the report, were prejudiced of billions in potential revenue.
According to a latest report of the department of works committee meeting, the identified built up areas were within Harare City Council boundaries.
“Those areas had either approved or not approved layout designs, sewer designs, water designs, road designs and some were already on council rates roll,” the report read in part.
“In some areas, council was already putting up infrastructure in the form of schools, clinics and sub-offices for rate collection.”
Council has in the past demolished houses built on illegally acquired stands.
“The acting director of works further reported that during the on-going investigations by law enforcement agencies and, municipal police as well as some staff movements within the council, it had become apparent that there were plans that did not go through the necessary change of reservation procedures and some stands which were allocated without layout plan approval,” the report added.
“Some of the layouts did not follow proper planning procedures but had been approved and allocated and were now at various stages of implementation.
“The committee noted that the benefits of the regularisation process would be to standardise all construction developments within Harare City Council boundaries, to increase revenue base for the Harare City through payment of the penalties on skipping of stage inspections, to improve construction compliance levels within Harare City boundaries for better service delivery in line with the 2025 Vision.”