‘Investigate, demolish illegal structures’


President Edgar Lungu has directed that a thorough investigation should be conducted into the Copperbelt illegal land acquisition and all houses built on illegally acquired land should be demolished across the country, Presidential Affairs Minister Freedom Sikazwe has revealed.   Mr Sikazwe said currently there was total confusion in the country over issuance of land. He said Government has observed that there was no law and order in the manner that the issuance of land was being managed in the country. “So we have since tasked the Ministry of Lands to ensure that they take stock of all the districts that are erring in the way they are issuing land. “People have stopped going through the councils whenever they want land. People have lost hope in getting land from the council and now they want to be getting it dubiously through cadres and fake agents,” Mr Sikazwe said. He said there was urgent need to normalise the situation, adding that the right procedure was going to the Ministry of Lands or the Local Council to acquire land. Mr Sikazwe said the only agents in the issuance of land recognised by the Government were the Ministry of Lands and Local Councils. Mr Sikazwe said anybody who obtained land illegally and constructed any infrastructure would have their structures demolished and dealt with accordingly. “We are saddened that people are now building houses along the rivers making them to dry up. We are investigating and anybody who will be found wanting will be dealt with accordingly,” he said. Mr Sikazwe said the Ndola case was confusing because Government was being told it was the council that had given out land while others were saying it were the party cadres. “So we are investigating and as soon as the correct information is given to us, then you will see the action that we are going to take. We have sent people to investigate and then move depending on the illegality,” Mr Sikazwe said. He said Government had given powers to the councils as agents to ensure that they looked after the land and give out accordingly, adding that what was currently prevailing was very disturbing. He said the issue of people hiding in the name of the party and having supported the President during the general elections would not work out because President Lungu was not going to condone such.Mr Sikazwe said the Minister of Lands Jean Kapata had also been directed by the President to issue a statement to guide on the way land would be managed. He said anybody who would be found wanting, the best Government could do to those illegalities would be dealing with the culprits accordingly. “If we go out there to demolish some houses, it does not mean that we do not mean well for the people of Zambia. We mean well because we want people to follow the proper channels of acquiring land in this country. “Leaving things the way they are, will make it difficult to control the situation. It is high time the Government moved in,” Mr Sikazwe.