Chiyangwa’s son accused of illegally encroaching onto Harare wetland

Phillip Chiyangwa
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HARARE – Land developer Bruce Chiyangwa, son to businessman and Zanu PF politician Philip Chiyangwa, has been accused of illegally encroaching onto a wetland measuring over two hectares in Mabelreign low density suburb in Harare.

Reports are that Bruce Chiyangwa is claiming ownership of the property without proper documentation.

Residents of Mabelreign have raised concerns over Chiyangwa’s recent land development activities, which resulted in the destruction of their crops.

Following an outcry by residents, Chiyangwa is said to have gone to present what is believed to have been photocopied documents to the Mabelreign district council officer to support his claim on the wetland, but failed to provide the original documents as advised.

Harare Wetlands Trust programmes officer, Selestino Chari condemned Chiyangwa for allegedly invading the prohibited space without proper documentation.

“The whole area is a big wetland and it’s a big breathing space for the community at large,” Chari said.

“It is unfortunate that the developer disregards all council and environmental laws and takes it upon himself to deprive several households’ rights for personal gain.

“Clearly, the law is clear that the residents and all relevant authorities should be consulted on both a development permit and an environmental impact assessment but from reliable sources.

“No such documents exist as the development takes place.

“We urgently urge the council and all the responsible authorities to stop this madness.

”COP is coming to Zimbabwe next year in June and this will be a bad reflection on our commitment to protect wetlands as a nation.”

Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) director, Rueben Akili expressed concern over the persistent invasion and encroachment of wetlands in the city, criticising the lack of action by the Environmental Management Agency (EMA).

He highlighted the need for EMA to be proactive in protecting wetlands, especially considering that Zimbabwe will be hosting a convention on wetlands next year.

“The issue of invasions and encroachment of wetlands by those developers, some of them illegal, some of them legal, is very worrying.

“It happens in the full glare of EMA, it happens in the full glare of the Upper Manyame sub catchment council including the local authority, the City of Harare itself.

“We are worried that EMA hasn’t been proactive in terms of protecting wetlands of late and this comes against a background were even Zimbabwe next year will be hosting the convention on wetlands and again, I hope we will have something to show the visitors that we still have wetlands in Zimbabwe, otherwise we have nothing to show that we have wetlands,” he said.

EMA spokesperson Amkela Sidange confirmed the agency is investigating allegatons of Chiyangwa’s encroachment on a wetland.

Sidange stated that an ecological assessment of the area will be conducted to determine its sensitivity and provide guidance for decision making.

“The land corresponding to the description given in your enquiry was observed to be undergoing clearing by the Agency leading to necessary investigation done to identify source of the activity.

“The source of the activity was established and necessary engagement was done. A request for an ecological assessment of the area has since been submitted to the Agency.

“The Agency is therefore going to carry out an ecological assessment of the area (provided the area is not a gazetted ecological sensitive area), to establish the ecological sensitivity of the area and then give appropriate guidance for decision making.

“The Agency is however urging would-be developers to approach it for guidance on the ecological sensitivity of areas they intend developing on as an abatement measure against degrading sensitive ecosystems,” said Sidange.

Chiyangwa was not picking calls on his mobile when attempts were made to seek his side of the story.

He also did not respond to questions sent to him via WhatsApp.

Source: ZimLive