Walter Mswazie, Masvingo Correspondent
HOUSES built on wetlands in Masvingo must be demolished as their construction violated the Environmental Management Act, an official has said
Environment Management Agency (EMA) Education and Publicity manager Mr Steady Kangata said anyone who intends to put up a structure on a wetland must first seek approval from the agency.
He said failure to do so attracts a fine and the structure must be demolished.
Some houses in Rujeko High Density and Mucheke’s ZBS suburbs were built on wetlands, raising the risk of flooding as well as disturbing the ecosystem.
Mr Kangata told The Chronicle that all stuctures built on wetlands face demolition.
“All wetlands are protected by the law and no one should interfere with their existence. What we do as EMA is to fine the developer heavily and the local authority will seek a demolition order to have the buildings destroyed,” said Mr Kangata.
He said the agency was also facing challenges in Harare and Chitungwiza as there are more houses built on wetlands in the two cities.
“While Masvingo could have the same problems and house owners are experiencing flash floods, Harare and Chitungwiza are the worst affected,” he said.
Masvingo Mayor Councilor Hubert Fidze said all houses built on wetlands will be demolished by council but there was a need to first verify the circumstances leading to people building in such areas.
“All houses built on wetlands will be destroyed obviously. We will however consider the time and whether the owners were allocated by council or not. I know there could be others who were allocated land on safe places and for reasons known to them shifted and built on wetlands. Such residents will definitely have their houses destroyed,” said Clr Fidze.