Minister of Local Government Dr Charles Banda has with immediate effect suspended Lusaka and Kitwe city councils to pave way for illegal land allocation audit.
The Minister has disclosed that the three (3) months suspension of the two councils is meant to give chance to correct the ills in the two councils after some irregularities in land administration were established.
Speaking at a joint press briefing with Minister of Lands and Natural Resources Hon Jean Kapata, Dr Banda further disclosed that he will appoint administrators for both councils this week.
Concerning the land on Vubu Road in Emmasdale which led to an altercation between Matero Mp Hon Lloyd Kaziya and ward councillor Anne Chinyanta, Dr Banda disclosed that after a joint investigation and tour of the site, it was established that the land in question was not suitable for any form of development.
Dr Banda has therefore revoked the temporal permit granted to install a trading container on Vubu road and directed that the erection of the said container be stopped with immediate effect as the area is clearly not suitable for the intended development.
He has further revoked the permission granted for the proposed extension of stand number 33/35/8632, Emmasdale onto a road reserve saying the land in question is an active access road and also cancelled and stopped the permission granted for the proposed extension of stand number Lus/17418/a.
Dr Banda has since warned all the councils to avoid engaging in illegal land allocation adding that from the tour undertaken from Emmasdale, some irregularities in the planning permissions were established and that they will not go unpunished.
He said consultations are on-going to establish the next steps to be taken on the erring officers and civic leaders to ensure that sufficient sanctions are applied that will be a deterrent to similar irregularities occurring in the future.
“There is no sacred cow in this, we may come back soon if this persists in other councils to do the same which is to suspend them and correct the issues and ensure that things are done in an orderly manner” Dr Banda said.
He said the two ministries will closely monitor the development to ensure that the directives issued are immediately put into action and assured that government will not tolerate any illegality and disorderly allocation of land.
And Hon Kapata further announced that her ministry has equally withdrawn all land agencies under the land circular of 1985 to pave way for the land audit
She cautioned all land provincial officers not to endorse land illegality and urged them to inspect the availability of land before allocation during title processes.
“The councillor’s work is not to allocate land, their duty is to give people services and attend to them but it seems the new trend is that people want to concentrate on land allocation” she observed.