The Eastern Province Planning Authority yesterday swung into action and demolished six houses that were illegally constructed on the buffer of a stream in Lundazi district in Eastern Province.
The team from the planning authority with the help of police stormed the unsuspecting residents of the six houses around 01:30 and razed the illegal structures using a front end loader.
The planning authority carried out the demolition exercise in Diwa Compound where the six houses were built without planning permission as required under Section 22 of the Town and Country Planning Act of the Laws of Zambia.
Provincial Planner, Mukuka Chibwe, who led the team that razed the structures, also said the houses were built on the buffer zone, stating that they were supposed to be built 30 meters away from the
stream as required by the law.
Mr Chibwe explained that the developers were issued with both verbal and written warnings but they chose to defy the lawful orders and continued to construct against the planning authority and the district council.
And one of the developers who were shocked by the action of the planning authority described the move by government as shocking, saying it was unfair to demolish the houses and leave families in the cold.
Herbert Mwinga said he spent over K100, 000 to construct his house and noted that a number of household items worth thousands of Kwacha were damaged in the process.
“I was not given a notice about this action. I spoke to the Council Secretary who assured me that the local authority would legalise the structures,” he said as he shed tears.
Mr Mwinga, who was Lundazi District Education Board Secretary (DEBS) warned that he would seek legal redress as his family was left homeless.
The other families refused to speak to the media and chased them away.
And the Provincial Planner noted that the level of illegal structures was high in the district especially on private property.
“We have also issued enforcement notices to developers who have constructed on Lundazi Boarding School grounds and those that have erected structures on the Farmers’ Training Centre land but they have appealed to the Town and Country Tribunal. We are currently awaiting the tribunal to determine the case,” Mr Chibwe said.
Meanwhile, Eastern Province Permanent Secretary, Chileshe Mulenga, confirmed that the planning authority had issued notices against each of the illegal developers in line with the provisions of Sections 31 and 32 of the Town and Country Planning Act.
Dr Mulenga said in a statement that was made available to ZANIS that the developers in Diwa Compound did not submit any appeal even when they were given the opportunity to do so by the planning authority.
He warned that the planning authority would continue to take action on illegal land developers and advised all developers to get planning authority before they erect any structure.
Last year, the planning authority demolished shops that were illegally build on Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) land at Chanida border in Chadiza district.