Addressing illegal land allocations critical for environmental sustainability in Harare


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Civil society organisations (CSOs) have made a clarion call for duty bearers to investigate the spate of corrupt land allocations in Harare and bring the culprits to book.

Cleveland Action Alliance; Network for Environmental and Climate Justice; and Residents Against Land Degradation said in a joint statement that they are concerned that illegal land allocations, including on wetlands, have negatively impacted environmental sustainability in Harare.

“It is unfortunate that despite a legal framework that guarantees the protection of the environment, Harare, like many other cities and towns continues to witness illegal land allocations that continue to compromise environmental sustainability. We feel that the Harare City Council is not dealing decisively with the real cause of the mushrooming of illegal settlements in Harare. The illegal and corrupt allocation of residential stands initiated by land barons and corrupt council officials is a cause for concern that calls for urgent action if this trend is to be nipped in the bud,” they argued.

Whilst the legal procedures have to be observed in acquiring residential stands, the CSOs are concerned that the Harare City Council has been turning a blind eye when houses are being built illegally and that there have not been thorough investigations by the City Fathers to identify the actual suspects within the council who are believed to be conniving with the land barons by selling land to unsuspecting buyers.

It is in this regard that the CSOs urgently demand the following :

  • That the City of Harare must urgently carry out an inquiry into the mushrooming of illegal structures in Harare
  • A forensic investigation at Harare City Council to identify the culprits and bring them to book
  • The City Council finds alternative land for the families affected by demolitions as provided by the constitution of Zimbabwe

They noted that the future sustainability of Harare is dependent on environmental sustainability.

Environmental sustainability must be considered in Harare’s master plan as the outdated one has paved the way for chaotic land allocations that often disregard this important aspect.

“In line with our vision to increase community stewardship over the environment, we shall continue to mobilise residents to resist environmental degradation through illegal land allocations, and public interest litigation remains key in this regard,” the CSOs added.