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Tuesday, April 23, 2024
HomeNewsCouncil Demolishes Illegal Structures at Monavale Vlei

Council Demolishes Illegal Structures at Monavale Vlei

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ILLEGAL shacks which had been erected at Monavale Vlei, an international site and protected wetland under Zimbabwe’s laws, were yesterday destroyed by municipal police as efforts to protect the site gather momentum.

The demolition of the illegal structures comes as a huge relief to environmentalists who were battling to save Monavale Vlei from invasion by a group of war veterans under the banner of Limpopo Housing Cooperative.

The invaders had previously defied orders from council and the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) to stop housing developments on the East side of Monavale Vlei.

Last week, the invaders claimed they had been given authority to build on the wetland although the Minister of Local Government, Saviour Kasukuwere had declared that Monavale was “a no go area” as it is a protected site.

Monavale Vlei is among the seven wetlands that are recognized under the Ramsar Convention on the protection of wetlands to which Zimbabwe is signatory.

Last week, Harare Mayor, Bernard Manyenyeni expressed concern that the Monavale invaders continued to defy orders for them to stop developments on the area.

“This is a Ramsar site and we need to protect the area from any form of invasion. As council, we have resolved that we will deploy municipal police here so that they stop any form of invasion. We would also like to find out where the invaders are getting the authority to defy orders coming from the relevant authorities,” said Manyenyeni.

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The Chairperson of Limpopo Housing Cooperative, Noah Kambanje is on record claiming that as war veterans, they were entitled to housing stands hence their decision to occupy the area.

“We are the ones behind the independence of this country and therefore, we are entitled to housing just like everyone else. Whatever that we are doing at Monavale has been approved by relevant authorities and there is absolutely nothing illegal,” said Kambanje.

Wetlands are the major primary sources of water for Harare and there has been concern from the Zimbabwe National Water Authority that the destruction of these important sources of water was worsening water scarcity in Harare.

The Harare Wetland Trust has launched an intensive campaign aimed at educating local communities to preserve wetlands within their areas.

In Zimbabwe, wetlands are protected under the Environmental Management Act.

Major threats to the survival of wetlands have largely been developments for housing and industrial purposes with most of these developments taking place without paying due regard to the need to preserve the wetlands.

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