Environment Minister Grilled Over Continued Constructions on Wetlands

Environment Minister Grilled Over Continued Constructions on Wetlands

Environment, Tourism, and Hospitality Industry Portfolio Committee has today questioned Minister Prisca Mupfumira on constructions ongoing on wetland in and around Harare.

The Committee asked the Environment Minister on the authorization for a filling station construction at the University of Zimbabwe. Also, the building of a Church in Easterly and also rumors of land being cleared for high rise flats in Monavale.

“With all those, our questions now stands, who gave them the mandate to build,” the committee asked. “Does your department EMA (Environment Management Agency) have the authority to offer the EIAs (Environmental Impact Assessment license) to declare sites.”

Wetlands which, are some of the main sources of water for Zimbabwe’s capital city, are under threat to construction.

The Parliamentary Committee, based on the time visited 4 weeks ago, said the New Life Church construction in Easterly is in progress and could be at window level if nothing has been done.

“Of particular we have got the Monavale, we have heard it has been declared to have construction of a high rise flat maybe flats so many of them around, Monavale and that’s our biggest source of water in Harare,” the committee said.

“At the UZ… they have started the development of a filling station on the wetland in the UZ campus and the former Vice-Chancellor had declared it and commissioned and costruction had started.”

It was revealed that concrete is already in place and construction of the filling station had begun at the UZ wetland.

In response to questions by the Parliamentary Committee, the Environment Minister said she notes with concern about the abuse or illegal use or not complying with the EIA certification.

The Minister said a lot of what happened in the wetland is history and that she wanted to understand what happened before her tenure.

“I have examples of areas where EMA has said no, or maybe even the local committee saying no but the Minister then issuing a direct and was complied,” Mupfumira said.

“All I can say is as the Second Republic and also as the Minister of Environment we are following through most of these environmental violations with passion.”

The Tourism Minister also said there was a need for a legal framework for wetlands management.

“Our problem, our real challenge is lack of supporting legal framework,” Mupfumira said.

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