Harare Mayor warns over wet lands

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OWN CORRESPONDENT

HARARE mayor Herbert Gomba has warned home seekers and politicians from invading and settling on wet lands saying this threatened water supplies to the entire city.

Speaking during a Wet Lands Indaba, Gomba said it was time politicians and property developers to stop illegal constructions on wetlands.

“Residents should stop settling on wetlands. I am also urging the politicians to desist from encouraging people to settle on wetlands. This is causing major problems for the water levels at Lake Manyame and the water table resulting in less water for the city,” said Gomba

Council according to Gomba has faced serious challenges trying to deal with illegal settlers especially on wet lands with most of them hiding behind politicians.

“Ironically when we tell people to move from the wetlands they come to council and demand that we give them alternative land, they argue that that they are protected by the Constitution yet their actions would have been illegal in the face place,” he said.

Gomba said despite breaking the law those settling on wet lands get support and backing from human rights activists.

“They are even supported by human rights groups yet they are violating other residents right to clean and safe water. It must also be clear that the country has laws which criminalise settling or constructing on wetlands, the city does not take an exception. Our wetlands are under threat from illegal housing programmes that have not been sanction by council,” he said.

On Wednesday, Environment and Tourism Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu bemoaned the fast rate at which illegal housing construction projects have turned wetlands into concrete jungles, saying government is in the process of formulating wetlands management.