Land near Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport, designated for future runways, was compulsorily acquired by the Government some years ago and cannot be acquired by anyone else.
The recent attempt to fence off part of the land by cement producer PPC Zimbabwe cannot be allowed, even though the compensation amount still has to be settled, the Government said yesterday.
For years, there have been wrangles over the land surrounding the airport which the Government has said was reserved for expansion and as a result some houses on the land alongside Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Road were demolished in 2016.
Since then, more developments have been made despite the area being under the ownership of the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ), the State entity assigned the land after its acquisition.
PPC recently fenced off a section of land a few kilometres from the airport.
Harare Metropolitan Province Secretary for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Mr Tafadzwa Muguti yesterday said the Government had compulsorily acquired the land from PPC and surrendered it to CAAZ.
“We also have residents who have been complaining about the area which has been fenced off by PPC. There was a judgment where that land was compulsorily acquired by the Government. However, the Government did not compensate at the point of acquisition. But that does not mean that the land goes back to PPC because once the Government has fully procured the land and taken over, it is then surrendered to the authority.
“In this case, that land was procured and surrendered to CAAZ, as such it is part of the airport development,” he said.
He said a stakeholders’ meeting held with the police, the special planning unit in the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works, CAAZ, the Airports Company of Zimbabwe, the Environmental Management Agency and City of Harare last week, agreed that any developments that took place within the precincts of the airport were not supposed to have taken place, according to the Civil Aviation Act and the Airports Company of Zimbabwe Act.
Mr Muguti said the 1976 plans showed that the area had been set aside for a second runway for the airport, hence it had always belonged to CAAZ.
“As it is currently, PPC has no authority to be fencing off that area. We have met with all stakeholders and what remains is the discussion between PPC and the Government of Zimbabwe for compensation; but that land is designated for the airport and Civil Aviation is ready to start making plans to put a runway there,” he added.
He also said all developments and houses being built in the area were considered illegal hence construction had to be halted.
“We have red, yellow, and green zones and as it is now, the bulk of the developments that occurred between February last year and today are all in the red zone which means they are prone to disaster.
“Any developments in that zone have to be specifically aligned to the functions of an airport that is why we are not keen on people occupying that land. We are approaching all courts and all the houses sitting within the red zone will be demolished. The law is the law,” said Mr Muguti.
He said no other cemeteries would be allocated land in the area as there were suspicions that materials used in the present Zororo Memorial Park gravesites could be interfering with flight operations.
Mr Muguti said CAAZ had been instructed to start putting billboards on all boundaries to ensure people knew that land beyond the billboard was not available for occupation.Herald.