ED declares war on land barons
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has declared war on land barons and councils that duped desperate home seekers to settle and develop on illegal land, saying the government would bring them to book.
Addressing mourners during the burial of the late national hero, Moses Mpofu, at the National Heroes Acre yesterday, Mnangagwa said corrective measures were being taken to bring order to local authorities that had become havens of corruption as houses were constructed illegally on wetlands, without supporting infrastructure such as water and roads.
“Recently the government announced measures to clean up illegal settlements created by opposition-run urban councils. “We actually mean business and there will be no going back or let up. We cannot leave our people to the whims and caprices of notorious land barons who have been running riot on our people.
“Equally, the fight against all forms of corruption continues at full throttle. All those barons, whoever they are, must be brought to book. The second Republic is for law, order and planned settlements. Nothing less will do. “This is what the late comrade Mpofu stood for. We will not let him down by condoning lawlessness in the country, Mnangagwa said.
The illegal parcelling of stands by local authorities saw perpetrators of the rot wantonly disregarding existing land statutes and setting a recipe for a health time bomb with dire consequences for the supposed beneficiaries. The government announced this month that the ministry of Environment and the Environmental Management Agency were in the process of mapping wetlands around the country so as to come up with a masterplan of all ecologically sensitive spaces which must not be disturbed by human settlements.
This, the government said, would allow the ministries of National Housing and Local Government to identify and quantify all settlements in flood-prone areas, on illegal spaces and other irregular places to jointly establish “the magnitude of likely displacement from unavoidable demolitions”.
On the other hand, the ministry of Finance and Economic Development is expected to mobilise funds for the construction of new planned settlements that should result in the development of the real estate sector, a sector which can contribute as much as 20 percent to the country’s Gross
Domestic Product. At the same time, the ministries of Energy and Power Development, Women Affairs, Community and Small Medium Enterprise Development would also be roped in to add the new settlements to the national grind and also bring sanity to cooperatives respectively