The opposition MDC Alliance (MDC-A) has urged local authorities to take legal action against officials in the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development for usurping their powers.
MDC-A Secretary for Local Government, Sesel Zvidzai alleged that officials from the Local Government Ministry are responsible for the allocation of urban land to cooperatives and persons with connections to the ruling ZANU PF.
In a statement on Wednesday, Zvidzai said the sprouting of unplanned residential properties on wetlands and on areas reserved for power lines, sewer pipes and water reticulation lines is a violation of both environmental and town planning laws and should be dealt with. Said Zvidzai:
We call upon the law enforcement authorities and central government to deal decisively with the menace of land barons who often hide behind government as they fleece home seekers of their resources, while at the same time ignoring calls for proper planning by the local authorities.
Those who have lost their homes due to fraudulent misrepresentations by land barons and central government officials must be duly compensated for the prejudice they have suffered.
We further call upon local authorities to conduct themselves proportionately and in a humane manner in their efforts to rectify the irregularities.
Zvidzai further implored local authorities not to rush to demolish the irregular structures but only to resort to demolitions as a last resort and where regularisation of the illegal buildings cannot be achieved.