Farirai Machivenyika and Yeukai Karengezeka
Government has approved by-laws by Epworth Local Board banning open space worship and use of marginalised land without the authority’s approval.

This is contained in Statutory Instrument 151 of 2019, Epworth Local Board (Control of Worship in Open Spaces) By-Laws 2019 published in Friday’s Government Gazette.

The by-laws were approved by Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister July Moyo in terms of Section 229 of the Urban Councils’ Act.

“No person or persons shall gather in an open space for purposes of worship unless a permit has been issued by the council,” states the by-laws.

“. . . and the appropriate fee paid to the council, which fee shall be determined by council from time to time. The permit shall be renewed annually at a fee set by council from time to time.”

Council shall also designate places of worship provided that such areas have potable water and toilet facilities of a temporary or permanent nature approved by council at the expense of the permit holder.

Any person who contravenes or fails to comply with any provision of the by-laws shall be guilty of an offence liable to fine not exceeding level 5 or 15 days’ imprisonment or both such fine and imprisonment.

Government also approved Epworth Local Board’s ly-laws banning use of marginalised land without approval from the Environmental Management Agency.

According to SI149 of 2019; “No person shall, without a valid licence issued by the agency in terms of Section 231 of the Environmental Management (Environmental Impact Assessment and Ecosystem Protection) Regulations, 2007, the proof whereof shall lie upon him or her, remove, dredge, fills build upon cultivate, excavate, degrade or otherwise alter in any way the surface of wetland, sloppy areas, bed, banks or course of any river or stream.”

The local board also passed anti-litter by-laws as contained in SI 150 of 2019.

“No person shall deposit or abandon, or cause or permit to be deposited or abandon any form of litter mentioned in Section 3 in a public space,” reads part of the SI.

The litter include containers, plastic wrappings, paper, cartons, vegetable waste, dead animals, ash, rubble and soil, among others.

According to the by-law, offenders are also liable to pay a fine not exceeding Level 5 or 15 days’ imprisonment or both sentences.

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