Land barons invade Westgate wetlands 

Source: Land barons invade Westgate wetlands | The Herald

Land barons invade Westgate wetlands
Builders construct a special foundation on a wetland in Westgate, Harare yesterday. — Picture: Justin Mutenda.

Herald Correspondent

Westgate residents are worried about continued development on wetlands in their area with building starting on public open spaces.

In all development, slices of the land being subdivided into residential land have to be allocated under town planning laws and regulations for public purposes, basically education, health and recreation with most developers allocating wetland and other land unsuitable for building for the recreation portion.

When The Herald visited the area it witnessed development taking place on open spaces and river banks in the area.

Along Brumble Road, there were cabins and bricks on several newly-demarcated residential stands with some builders clearing up the land for construction. Behind the road was a small stream that flows to Westgate Area D.

The area on Brumble Road, according to the residents, was reserved as a recreation park for the local residents by the developer.

There were also developments taking place on wetlands along Mukwa and Sugar Bush Roads, on land also zoned as public open space for the neighbourhood in accordance with planning rules.

The situation was worse along Flame Lily Road where houses were built on the bed of a stream that flows to Madokero residential area. Builders could even be seen pumping out water to dig the foundations of the house.

Speaking on behalf of Westgate residents Mrs Barbra Mukahanana said the invasion of wetlands in Westgate has reached unprecedented levels and there was need for action before the situation worsens.

“We have seen the proliferation of houses in Westgate of late. Most of these houses are being built and some are still under construction on wetland areas that were reserved for recreational purposes. Our properties are slowly losing value and this is of great concern to us as local residents.”

City of Harare corporate communications manager Mr Michael Chideme said council does not tolerate developments on wetlands. 

“Council promotes preservation of wetlands,” he said.

City Environmental Management Unit head, Engineer Lisben Chipfunde said the planning on the wetlands did not follow the layout plan.