Wetlands Invasion: Harare Mayor says council is in a fix

Wetlands invasion has intensified during the current lockdown and stakeholders such as the Harare Wetlands Trust (HWT) have raised the red flag and called for corrective measures to be taken.

Recharging point of wetland.

HWT contends that the destruction of wetlands goes against the sustainable development of Harare as wetlands are critical sources of water.

The HWT has put forward several proposals and held several engagements including with the Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality industry on wetlands protection in Harare.

According to the HWT, legislative reform is also critical in protecting wetlands as well as a review of development permits allowing developments on wetlands in the absence of Environmental Impact Assessment Certificates (EIAs), public consultations as well as the approval of different catchment councils.

The Chairperson of the Harare City Council Environmental Management Committee, Councilor Kudzai Kadzombe is on record saying the council will be vigilant against wetland invaders and will not hesitate to demolish structures built on wetlands.

Harare Mayor, Herbert Gomba, is also on record saying that invaders were taking advantage of the current lockdown to settle on wetlands.

In an interview with this publication, he said invasions of wetlands will not be tolerated but the however council was in a fix with regards to the protection of wetlands in Harare.

He said the destruction of properties built on wetlands remains an option but highlighted that in some instances, council ends up taking the blame yet the invaders would have settled on the wetlands illegally.

“Council has the capacity to stop the invasion of wetlands but our people have not been clear as to what they really want. At one time they don’t want demolitions or would try to politicize them.

On the other hand, they also want wetlands not to be invaded and we are now faced with a contradiction if we are to use all of our municipal powers you get human rights lawyers and politicians calling. But if you don’t act they also start to call saying you are not doing the nation any good. Why can’t we agree as a nation on this? The way forward must be clear,” said Gomba.

Residents have however blamed council and officials for failing to walk the talk with regards to wetlands protection with some councillors being implicated on issues of wetlands invasion.


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