De­mo­li­tions loom in Hwange

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Analysis/national News - Leonard Ncube

DOZENS of home­steads and lodges il­le­gally built on a piece of land re­served for eco-tourism in Monde out­side Vic­to­ria Falls face de­mo­li­tion.

Hwange Ru­ral Dis­trict Coun­cil ( HRDC) has con­demned the il­le­gal struc­tures describing them as an eye­sore to tourism.

Dozens of peo­ple some of them res­i­dents of Vic­to­ria Falls re­lo­cat­ing from the re­sort town be­cause of high cost of liv­ing have al­legedly erected struc­tures such as home­steads and lodges with­out coun­cil ap­proval.

The area stretches from the grid about 10km out­side Vic­to­ria Falls town to be­yond the Vic­to­ria Falls In­ter­na­tional Air­port and along the Zam­bezi River to Chisuma un­der Chief Mvuthu.

It is al­leged that some of the peo­ple paid sus­pected land barons as much as $2 000 for stands on an area ear­marked for eco-tourism, near a Gov­ern­ment planned recre­ational park.

Hwange coun­cil chair­per­son Al­der­man Siphiwe Ma­fuwa told Chron­i­cle Busi­ness that some have built 32-roomed lodges.

“A lot has been hap­pen­ing as peo­ple have set­tled them­selves with­out coun­cil ap­proval. There is hap­haz­ard set­tle­ment as peo­ple mi­grate from Vic­to­ria Falls to avoid pay­ing rates and wa­ter bills.

“We have met three times on that and rec­om­mended that they should stop. We have en­gaged tra­di­tional lead­ers, of­fi­cials from Agri­tex who are peg­ging the stands and health of­fi­cers who are ap­prov­ing some of fa­cil­i­ties and agreed that no more al­lo­ca­tion should take place as we work to rec­tify the sit­u­a­tion,” said the coun­cil chair­per­son.

She said in­ves­ti­ga­tions were still un­der­way fol­low­ing al­le­ga­tions of money ex­chang­ing hands and ev­ery­one, in­clud­ing tra­di­tional lead­ers if any are in­volved will meet their fate.

“Some have built 16 rooms and 32 rooms and they will all be de­stroyed be­cause we want to for­malise land use,” she said with­out giv­ing a time­frame on when the process is likely to take place.

Ald Ma­fuwa said no land use is al­lowed within 3km from the main road.

Some vil­lagers have also com­plained that their live­stock now graze in the wild an­i­mal in­fested game park to­wards the Zam­bezi River and west of the Vic­to­ria Falls road where they risk be­ing de­voured be­cause graz­ing land has been par­celled out.

Hwange Dis­trict Ad­min­is­tra­tor Miss Nkany­iso Jubane said the lo­cal au­thor­ity will only be im­ple­ment­ing Gov­ern­ment pol­icy on land.

“If it is es­tab­lished that they cor­ruptly set­tled there then the process will have to take place. De­lay­ing it would not help in any way,” she said. — @ncubeleon

A home­stead in Monde out­side Vic­to­ria Falls

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