Gov prepares to demolish 3 000 Gweru houses

Elizabeth Mashiri
Assistant Editor

Gweru – The Government is preparing to demolish 3 000 houses in Woodlands Suburb of Gweru once a careful study of a report submitted by the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) is done.

The Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities, Daniel Garwe said this after conducting a tour of the suburb last week.
Garwe said River Valley Properties neither followed procedure nor sought approval from EMA and Gweru City Council when it developed the suburb and as a result Woodlands is not only located near a dumpsite but it is in a pollution belt of an industrial area and a large section of it is sitting on a wetland.

The delegation which included the Minister of State for Midlands Province Larry Mavima also visited Ascot Extension and Montrose where stands were allocated in wetlands.

Efforts by The Mirror to get a comment from one of the senior officials at River Valley Properties, Smelly Dube were fruitless.
Garwe said the demolition of the suburb will be anytime soon and the land developer will be responsible for compensating the affected residents.

“Government policy is very clear on wetlands and l will be very clear that all houses on wetlands will be demolished.

“We now need a detailed report on the settlement so that we are adequately informed on whether it’s feasible to relocate the dumpsite and leave people here.

“Whatever decision we take, the costs will be met by the developer. If we decide to move the dumpsite and leave the people which is unlikely, the developer will still meet the costs of building a new dumpsite,” said Garwe.

EMA Midlands Provincial Manager Benson Bhasera told the Minister that River Valley did not follow procedure during the development of the suburb.

“River Valley did not follow procedure, an Environmental Impact Assessment was not done and this is why the location is within the area of a dumpsite plus it is also within the industrial pollution belt,” said Bhasera.

The Minister also condemned the drainage and sewer systems at Woodlands and described the roads as a nightmare because of their narrowness and bad state.

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