Jane Mlambo| In a bid to cover up for the malpractices associated with planning, land use and construction in the City, the City of Harare is calling all property owners who have erected structures without following laws and regulations of the City to “immediately apply for regularisation”.
The call to regularise illegal developments, properties and structures by the City comes at a time when some developments in the City are being done without building permits or on land without compliance certificates from the Planning Department.
Examples of such cases are in Newlands where New Life Ministries is constructing a massive church building without a development permit on a wetland, Marlborough a college is under construction without a permit at a residential stand and in Tafara wetland opposite Lafarge Cement where houses are being built without permission from the local authority.
The enforcement order issued by the City of Harare in terms of the Regional Town Planning Act 29:12 gives illegal developers an opportunity to regularise their properties or face demolitions.
“Therefore take note that in terms of the said section 32 you are hereby ordered to cease using the illegal structures or IMMEDIATELY APPLY FOR REGULARISATION in terms of the Act.” Reads part of the circular which will come into effect on 29 April 2019 if there is no appeal lodged with the Administrative Court within one month.
A wetland activist condemned the move by the City and said “This will see many wetlands being chewed up which are water sources for the City.”
Another Council employee explained that the move is a windfall for land barons who have been invading open spaces and wetlands in the city and selling out stands.
Meanwhile Marlborough residents have engaged Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and CHRA for an intervention in an attempt to stop illegal construction of a College at a residential property. CHRA is in the process of engaging the Mayor of Harare over the issue as this encourages proliferation of unplanned settlements and defies principles of urban planning.