Local Government minister July Moyo, and National Housing minister Daniel Garwe on Saturday toured areas affected by floods in Chitungwiza after heavy rains pounded the area the day before.
Guided by Chitungwiza municipality staff and members of the Department of Civil Protection, the two ministers toured the areas that were heavily affected, including Seke Unit N Extension near Zaoga, Seke Unit A Extension along Duri River, Seke Unit M, and the Pagomba area in Zengeza 4, as well as Manyame.
Moyo said the flooding problem in Chitungwiza was caused by people who built residential structures on wetlands, adding that government would soon take action.
“This is illegal. Now we know for sure, this is not the way to continue administering this local authority. We have to make sure that wetlands remain wetlands, streams remain streams. And they are protected by the law which the department of physical planning administers,” he said.
“There is no politics in dealing with this serious problem. Let’s confront it as Zimbabweans. We are appealing to all those settled in wetlands by whoever to come forward so that we can deal with that matter. If they remain silent, let them not cry when we take action. We want to move people having got the history of what happened, so that we have correct solutions to correct information that would have been given to us,” he said.
Garwe chipped in, saying: “People must take responsibility for those mistakes. Even those made by our ancestors, we inherit them as ours and correct them going forward. No house should be built on wetlands, riverbanks, and land designated for social amenities. We must categorically say no to that kind of development. If we don’t do that, then we are actually validating the conduct of land barons.”
Chitungwiza Residents and Ratepayers Association chairperson Arthur Taderera, however, said the problem emanated from the fact that people were allocated stands illegally by politicians during election periods.
“Some of the stands were supposed to be allocated by council, but the houses are not in the council database and they were built on wetlands, and have no drainage systems,” he said.
In a statement, Chitungwiza acting town clerk Tonderai Kasu warned people living in low-lying areas to evacuate.
“On this basis as the municipality, we hereby strongly warn and urge those living in low-lying areas as well as those that built houses on wetlands, on riverbanks, on waterways and in streams to immediately evacuate now and without delay,” Kasu said.