Conrad Mupesa Mashonaland West Bureau
AT LEAST fifty residents in Rujeko and St Irves high-density suburbs in Chinhoyi who recently got their properties submerged in floods have condemned Chinhoyi Municipality for flouting its own by-laws by allocating stands on wetlands.
Some of the residents were late last week left counting losses after incessant rains resulted in the flooding of a nearby stream. Residents were allocated the stands through the council and cooperatives.
The local authority assessed and approved construction of the structures.
“We were allocated these stands through cooperatives while some of us got the residential stands through the council. Council officials assessed all the houses here and approved them.
“The officials are also assessing under-construction properties. It is however, worrisome that the council approved the allocation of stands and construction of houses despite knowing that it was violating its own by-laws and national laws ,” a resident from Rujeko suburb, Ms Nelia Chitima said.
“I have lost my furniture to the water and the whole suburb is on the verge of contracting water-borne related diseases.”
Residents bemoaned council’s the government to help address the challenges. Chinhoyi Residents Association executive member, Mr Tendai Musonza said the council was failing to enforce the Urban Councils Act, Housing Standards Control Act among other laws endangering the environment and residents.
“The council has allowed the allocation of stands on wetlands including awarding some of its workers stands on disputed areas. Several council officials own properties along wetlands but the council has remained mum,” he said.
Recently, six council officials who were suspended for illegal parcelling out of stands were acquitted by the courts. Council town clerk Mr Maxwell Kaitano said he would issue out a statement on the matter as he was yet to get comments from the responsible departments.
Environment Management Agency (EMA) provincial education and publicity officer, Mr Munyaradzi Nhariswa said councils across the province were flouting environmental laws and failing to protect wetlands.
He called on local authorities and stakeholders to address pollution issues and to integrate water and wetlands into development plans and resource management.