Administrative Court judge, Justice Herbert Mandeya blocked property developers from constructing cluster houses at a Monavale vlei, a wetland. The property developers s Meadows (PVT) Ltd, Patel and Ors had been taken to court by the Conservation Society of Monavale (COSMO).
The developers were taken to court after they had obtained permission from the Harare City Council Environmental Management Committee. This came after the developers had been previously denied permission by the Environment Management Agency (EMA). COSMO had argued that the council had no authority to override EMA.
In his ruling Justice Mandeya said:
COSMO’s appeal against the grant of the permit succeeds. This was on the grounds that the City Council had no authority to grant such a permit unless and until the Director-General of the EMA had issued a certificate approving an environmental impact assessment that approves the project.
It is not open to developers. The City of Harare cannot by-pass section 97 (5) of the Environmental Management Act.
EMA spokesperson, Steady Kangata said:
Monavale Vlei is a very important water supply for the capital and therefore, we do not want to see it disturbed. We do not want to see a concrete jungle all over the city. While we concede that they are the owners of the land, we cannot let them build those houses. They can use the land for other purposes like recreational or develop it into a golf course.
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