THE Greendale Residents and Ratepayers’ Association (GRRA)’s development committee says the piece of land where Nakiso Holdings has been building a football training centre is not a wetland as previously feared.
Diana Nherera Suburban Reporter
This follows investigations the GRRA carried out to establish if the area was a Ramsar wetland site or not.
Speaking at the reconvened GRRA annual general meeting held last week Friday at Greendale Methodist Church, town planner Mr Canaan Mugayi said there were claims that Nakiso Holdings had invaded a Ramsar wetland site.
“I set out to establish whether or not the site we were referring to is indeed a Ramsar site.
“My findings were it is not a Ramsar.
“The argument we had raised was that it indeed was a Ramsar site and how could we start attacking things which were happening yet we were in ignorance,” said Mr Mugayi.
In September last year, Nakiso Holdings came under attack from residents and various organisations such as the Combined Harare Residents Association and Community Water Alliance which accused the company of building structures on a wetland.
The two organisations approached the City of Harare seeking cancellation of a lease it entered with Nakiso Holdings. Former Harare East legislator and Deputy Finance Minister Terence Mukupe, who owns Nakiso Holdings, denied the allegations at the time.
Reports had suggested that the wetland in the Cleveland Dam Catchment was under siege with construction taking place even after the announcement by Government that it had approved a National Wetlands Policy to protect wetlands.
“Cleveland Dam Catchment Wetland Area (is) under siege. Construction activities commenced last Friday in the wetland area behind Donny Brook Motor Racing which is part of the Cleveland Dam Catchment,” the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) said in a statement last year.
The residents body claimed that the land developer had started putting in place roads, chewing up the eastern part of the wetland.
CHRA said the Cleveland Dam area was an internationally recognised wetland under the Ramsar Convention, to which Zimbabwe is a signatory. The Ramsar Convention …
“Furthermore, the Cleveland Dam area including part of its catchment wetland area is protected by international law under the Ramsar Convention which Zimbabwe is a signatory. The wetland area is a vital water source for Cleveland Dam which ultimately flows into Lake Chivero, a primary water source for Harare water supply,” CHRA said.
“The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) recently published Wetlands Master Plan which should guide spatial planning for local authorities. CHRA has engaged the City of Harare Planning Department seeking information on the approval of the construction activities in the wetland.”
Last year, Cabinet considered and approved the proposed National Wetlands Policy and Guidelines which will guide wetlands management in the country.
The policy will facilitate the establishment of institutions and laws for integrated management of wetlands.
“The approved Policy will guide wetlands management for incorporation in development planning by Government, the private sector and development partners, Traditional Leaders, communities and individuals. The Policy will facilitate the establishment of an effective and efficient institutional and legal framework for integrated management, and enhance capacity building within relevant institutions involved in the management of wetlands,” Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa told a post-Cabinet media briefing in August last year.
Government will designate all wetlands as areas that are unsuitable for settlement, gazette all ecologically sensitive wetlands, undertake orderly relocation of people in order to pave way for the rehabilitation of wetlands, and enforce the requirement for Environmental Management Agency certification for any developments in sensitive wetlands.
There shall be efficient measures for waste management from point of source, with stiff penalties being imposed for the offence of discharging waste into wetlands.
“Government shall establish wetland education centres countrywide, set up functional local wetland management institutions, restore the powers of Traditional Leaders in wetland management, and strengthen legislation to protect various habitats found on wetlands. Government will also intensify the development of climate change mitigation measures to safeguard wetlands, establish and develop recreation and eco-tourism facilities for sustainable wetland management, and promote efficient techniques and technologies for crop and livestock production on wetlands where these activities are considered appropriate.
“Treasury will avail in tranches the resources required to kick-start the rehabilitation of 20 wetlands, 2 per province, before the onset of the 2021/2022 rainfall season,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.