By Tendai Guvamombe
Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Portfolio Committee chairperson Consilia Chinanzvavana says her committee will soon exercise its legislative powers in an effort to protect wetlands from further invasions.
Most wetlands mainly in Harare and Chitungwiza have been invaded by property developers and land barons who have gone to parcel them to unsuspecting home-seekers.
However, this has been pinpointed as one of the reasons for water challenges in Harare and Chitungwiza as it affects water quality and availability.
Addressing journalists on the sidelines of a tour of various wetlands in Harare which was organised jointly with Harare Wetlands Trust and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Chinanzvavana said there is a need to urgently address the issue.
“When we see places without permits and CIAs we would like to know who gave them the permission to carry out development so our next step is to call the minister before the committee for us to have oversight of what happened,” she said.
Southerton legislator Peter Moyo who was part of the touring crew echoed similar sentiments saying there is a need to craft legislation on protection of wetlands to avoid corrupt cases within the government.
“Developments in places such as Kambuzuma and Longchen are actually a disaster where the government would override local authorities so we want to put legislation which is clear and straight forward to protect our wetlands,” he said.
Among the toured places include Monavale Vlei, University of Zimbabwe, Borrowdale, Glenlorne and Eastlea Suburbs.
Harare Wetlands Trust (HWT) programs manager Selestino Chari expressed optimism at the way Parliamentarians are interrogating invasion of wetlands.
“ The tour was an eye opener for legislators to see the real situation on the ground we now expect the authorities to make a motion to effect a stop on all developments done on wetlands also we are expecting a Parliamentary report and conclusions of the breakfast meeting,” he said.
Research has shown that water levels at Lake Chivero have dwindled to 17metres and further invasion of wetlands will dry up all its streams which originate from swampy areas.