MUTARE City Council has proposed the crafting of a water-tight city development and planning framework to address the overlapping roles between the State and local authorities in urban expansion.
A council committee led by the Town Clerk, Mr Joshua Maligwa, made the proposal during a Lands Commission of Inquiry probe into the sale of State land in and around urban areas since 2005, held in Mutare on Wednesday.
City planner Mr Richard Simbi said no developments were supposed to take place without an approved development plan from the city council, as well as from the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing to prevent the mushrooming of illegal settlements.
“As town planner, I recommend that nobody should be allowed to develop land without approved development plans from the city or town council, as well as an approved document from the Ministry of Local Government,” he said. “This will assist in curbing the mushrooming of illegal settlements on land that has been set aside for city expansion and development.”
Mr Maligwa said the major challenge councils were facing in the allocation and sale of land was the overlapping of roles between the Ministry of Local Government and local authorities.
“Councils are expected to submit city development plans for approval to the ministry,” he said.
“However, the ministry is not mandated to consult with council, which sometimes causes problems in the allocation of land for development in urban areas, so we request that council be involved in provincial land planning and allocation.”
The Commission of Inquiry into the sale of State land in and around urban areas since 2005 this week descended on Manicaland Province, as it intensifies its probe.
The commission is expected to meet various stakeholders in the province from September 3 to September 21 during which they will probe illegal land transactions going as far back as 2005.
The commission will interface with beneficiaries who bought State land handed over for urban development, double or multiple allocation and those allocated stands on space meant for the building of schools, clinics, roads and recreation facilities.
It will also look into cases of people who were displaced or prejudiced in any way by the re-allocation, resurveying and or re-pegging of stands.