Developers return to Sentosa Vlei, digging foundations

05 Apr, 2024 - 00:04 0 Views
Developers return to Sentosa Vlei, digging foundations Builders have been digging house foundations.


Peter Tanyanyiwa Suburban Reporter

Developers are back at the Sentosa Vlei off Westminster Avenue near Ellis Robbins Boys’ High School and their builders were this week spotted digging foundations for houses in a development worrying residents of the area.

Concerned residents immediately sought the help of the City of Harare officials, the Environmental Managament Agency (EMA) and the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) to investigate the disturbing activities taking place on the wetland in the face of imminent degradation of the vlei.

However, it appears the responsible authorities are yet to move in and deal with the transgressions in the Sentosa Vlei, leaving residents frustrated.

Residents confirmed witnessing foundation excavations for houses on the Sentosa Vlei leading to outrage over the failure to protect the environment.

One of the foundations is being dug close to one of the two new boreholes recently drilled on the wetland.

Residents have taken proactive steps by engaging the ZRP Mabelreign, the Mabelreign acting district officer Mrs Grace Gora and EMA Harare province manager Mr Leon Mutungamiri. The residents’ efforts aim to seek the enforcement of  laws designed to safeguard the wetlands from illegal activities.

ZRP Mabelreign confirmed that they were looking into the matter but referred further questions to Harare Police Provincial spokesperson Inspector Tendai Chakanza who said he was still awaiting to get details of the case.

Concerned residents said they had visited Mabelreign Police Station over the past two days and the police said they needed Mrs Gora to accompany their officers to the wetland.

Efforts to get a comment from Mrs Gora were fruitless as she was not answering her phone.

However, City of Harare spokesperson Mr Stanley Gama was quoted in the media recently saying council will demolish illegally built houses on a case by case basis but some will be spared and regularised.

“No regularisation will be done on settlements on wetlands and also those settlements occupying institutional, commercial and other designated sites,” Mr Gama was quoted saying.

EMA’s Mr Mutangamiri is reported to have emphasised that “these people must be apprehended on the spot”.  He was also not available to comment on the matter.

EMA plays a crucial role in the preservation and sustainable management of Zimbabwe’s natural resources. As the regulatory body responsible for environmental protection, EMA oversees the implementation of policies and regulations aimed at conserving the country’s natural habitats including wetlands.

However, residents said no action is being taken against the people preparing to build on the Sentosa Vlei.

“It’s very frustrating because we first reported the latest developments on Tuesday. But no intervention has been made yet. And the guys are back on site digging,” said a resident.

Ward 17 have residents expressed concern over the City of Harare’s lethargic approach to the selling of stands on the wetland.

Since last year, the residents have been seeking explanations from council over the stands on the wetland and why council was allowing the selling of stands on the vlei.

Wetlands are vital ecosystems that provide a range of ecological services, including water purification, flood control, and habitat for diverse plant and animal species. They also contribute to the overall health and resilience of the environment, making their preservation essential for the well-being of both wildlife and local communities. The invasion and degradation of wetlands in Harare poses a significant threat to the ecological balance and environmental sustainability of the city. If left unchecked, these activities could lead to irreversible damage to these crucial natural habitats, with far-reaching consequences for biodiversity and the quality of life for residents.

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