Muguti descends on wetlands invaders Mr Tafadzwa Muguti

Ivan Zhakata

Herald Correspondent

Local authorities trying to change the use of wetlands to residential or commercial stands, officials issuing building permits for wetland areas, and those doing the actual building, all face legal action and criminal charges, Secretary for Provincial Affairs and Devolution for Harare Metropolitan Province Mr Tafadzwa Muguti has warned.

Zimbabwe has stepped up measures to ensure sustainability in wetlands management amid a lot of competing land uses through development of the National Wetlands Policy, the National Wetlands Management guidelines and the National Wetlands Masterplan. These inform land-use planning, where wetlands can often be used to fulfil recreational land use, and are all designed to protect and preserve wetlands for the benefits they bring.

Mr Muguti met Harare Wetlands Trust and Harare residents’ representatives on Tuesday to discuss the growing invasion of wetlands and illegal water harvesting being facilitated by the city council and some council and government officials.

Zimbabwe is a signatory to several global conventions on the protection of wetlands and the provincial government structure would not tolerate any form of wetland invasion.

“It has also been noted that water extraction permits are being issued for drilling of boreholes and harvesting of natural spring water in wetlands,” Mr Muguti said.

“There is also a growing concern of local authorities applying for land change of use of wetlands into commercial and residential stands. Please be advised that no form of development is permitted in wetlands.

“Those issuing the permits and building in wetlands will both face the full wrath of the law. The Environmental Management Agency has been advised not to issue any full or partial authorisations to developers and local authorities in wetlands.”

Mr Muguti said all boreholes that have been drilled illegally in wetlands should be destroyed starting today and equipment confiscated while any form of construction in wetlands had to be stopped.

He urged all residents to join the war against wetland invasions by partnering EMA to erect fences to protect wetlands as well as reporting any illegal activities directly his offices.

Sustainable management of wetland area is also emphasised in the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1).

 

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