Government has criminalised the building of houses on wetlands as it seeks to stem the wanton creation of illegal settlements in urban areas.
Housing Minister Garwe informed the House of Assembly of the new initiative by government this week.
“Starting from now, all settlements on wetlands will be a criminal offence and the relevant Government agencies will be working on that.
Minister Garwe, who was presenting a Ministerial Statement said, “policy ensures that planning, development and management of settlements will be consistent with national and international disaster risk frameworks and with environmental and climate change policies, laws and standards”.
“Thus, construction of housing and social amenities on wetlands will be prohibited and where possible, reclamation of the same will be instituted”, he said.
The government’s new housing policy, the Zimbabwe National Human Settlements Policy (ZNHSP), was approved by Government earlier this month.
It will will guide human settlements development in the country going forward according to the Minister.
There has been a proliferation of illegal settlements built on wetlands across Harare with both Council and government failing to effectively deal with the situation.
Council has itself been accused of giving its workers stands on wetlands whilst connivances with land barons have resulted in new locations on wetlands.