Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Demolitions loom outside Victoria Falls

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.

Source: Demolitions loom in Hwange (26/09/16)

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