THE City of Harare this week acted swiftly to stop people who were building on a wetland along Bramble Road in Westgate following complaints by Ward 41 residents.
On Tuesday, Ward 41 residents questioned the continued developments taking place on a wetland in Westgate but the newly appointed Marlborough district officer Mrs Jane Gambizah assured them that the relevant City of Harare department was looking into the issue.
By Wednesday, council officials had moved in and stopped the building that was underway and confiscated some of the building materials.
“Some good news. DO (district officer) acted swiftly to the issue of people building on the wetlands along Bramble in Westgate. Much appreciated Jane Gambizah,” said a resident.
Residents lauded Mrs Gambizah for being proactive and responsive to their concerns and reports.
“She seems very proactive and we applaud,” said another resident.
More plaudits came with one reading: “Well done please attend to issues of illegal structures macabin (cabins) where people reside but hapana (with no) toilet and water.”
Residents had observed that builders were continuing to build despite the fact that people in the area had previously opposed the development and shared images of the building activities.
“That’s the corner post that they put to put up the fencing for the stand. It looks like the stand is within the drainage point of the city council. There is the fencing they want to put on the stand, this is the stream. Guys behind the tree there are digging to put up the post,” a resident is heard saying in a video shared on the Ward 41 residents group.
Other residents indicated that they had earlier this year managed to oppose and halt the development but a fence and workers who were digging could be seen on the video, which meant the developers were going ahead despite the objection.
“Maresidenst akazvimisa apo but pane macabin anga ayiswa pane vanhu vanga vasina pekugara ndivo vakabva vangopotera ipapo but vakutonzi vabve ipapo hatichataure hedu mazita evanhu vanga vapatora. (Residents have since objected and managed to halt the development but there are some wooden cabins that had been put up there and some homeless people were now staying there but they have been told to vacate.
“We know those who intended to build there but we shall not mention names),” said a resident.
The matter was also raised in other residents’ groups such as the Zimbabwe National Organisation of Associations and Residents Trusts (ZNOART) national group.
ZNOART national chairperson Mr Shalvar Chikomba appealed to the City of Harare to stop the illegal allocation of stands on wetlands and also shared on the ZNOART national group the concerns of a Westgate resident over the development.
“(This is) from a resident in Westgate Harare, City of Harare please stop these illegal allocation of wetlands.
“There are guys pegging new stands along Bramble street, across from the open field, the stand cuts across a stream right up to Weaver Way houses, they are fencing the stand right now. There is no way a stand can be sold in such an area. If memory serves me right, the area has always been left vacant due to the stream that flows all the way to Mukwa Drive Westgate Harare,” posted Mr Chikomba.
He solicited for a response from City of Harare spokesperson Mr Michael Chideme to no avail.
But in the Ward 41 residents group Mrs Gambizah told residents that council was acting.
“Good morning and thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. The responsible department are looking into it and will revert back with the situation,” she said.