Govt probes flooded Borrowdale properties' legality

HARARE - Government is investigating the legality of the homes that were recently ravaged by floods, including those in Borrowdale, after it turned out that some where built on wetlands and waterways, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) said yesterday.

This comes after several houses in the leafy Borrowdale suburb, including Lands minister Douglas Mombeshora’s mansion, were damaged by floodwaters following a burst dam in the area.

ZHRC chairperson, Elasto Mugwadi, told the Daily News that the commission was interrogating how certain homes built on wetlands and along waterways were given the green light to be constructed.

“Our findings will be presented to Parliament and because there are many issues surrounding the legality of some of these houses, Harare City Council(HCC) and the ministry of Local Government will probably be summoned to answer questions asked,” Mugwadi said.

He said measures need to be taken so that such disastrous incidences do not recur.

Mugwadi said because of political haggling between officials from both council and the ministry, they were forgetting to deliver their promises while trying to settle scores.

“In high density suburbs, council and the ministry of Local Government should not allow people to build first then demolish like they did during the 2005 Murambatsvina.”

“We do not need a situation where structures which had been authorised are demolished because of poor planning from authorities,” he said.

Combined Harare Residents Association chief executive, Mfundo Mlilo, said while some homes built on waterways in Borrowdale may not face demolition, those in high density areas may not be so lucky because of a lack of political power.

Mlilo said Mombeshora’s house may not be demolished despite its location but HCC may be asked to assist in rebuilding the house and even pay damages.

“There is something wrong about our politics because the poor residents of Harare will not be given such assistance but will have their houses demolished and be chased off the land.

“There is selective application of the rule of law which we have raised with ZHRC,” he said.

Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) corporate communications manager Marjorie Munyonga said private dams in the Borrowdale area were also illegally built as they were not registered.

HCC spokesperson Michael Chideme said while some houses were built according to the Borrowdale local development plan, others were constructed as parallel developments.

Environmental Management Agency publicity manager, Steady Kangata, added that people should take heed of advice not to build on wetlands and waterways to avoid having their property destroyed when floods occur.

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