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GOVERNMENT TO DEMOLISH STRUCTURES BUILT ON STRATEGIC LAND

GOVERNMENT HAS WARNED LOCAL AUTHORITIES AGAINST APPROVING UNNECESSARY CHANGE OF LAND USE FROM PLAY PARKS OR OPEN SPACES TO ANY OTHER USE.
Minister of Local Government, Charles Banda says his office has continued to receive applications from people intending to change land use designated for play parks and recreation facilities for personal gain, despite the 2018 circular on change of land use for parks or open spaces still in effect.
Dr Banda was speaking in Lusaka yesterday, when he visited some selected parks and open spaces located in different parts of the city where he discovered that houses and other buildings have been erected on the land meant for recreation.
Dr Banda lamented that in spite of the important role that these facilities play in creating a conducive urban environment, all the parks and open spaces in the country are either in a bad state or some people have changed the use of the land to other activities.
The minister directed the Lusaka City Council to demolish such structures, adding that they were built without following the right procedures of land acquisition.
“I would like to state that we will not tolerate and allow the change of land use that is meant for play parks and open spaces for other personal gains such as residential and commercial by unruly individuals, I also want to note that the 2018 circular on change of land use for parks or open spaces is not permitted,” he said.
Dr Banda also explained that all the councils or planning authorities were advised not to allow or facilitate development of open spaces and parks for any other purpose than recreation.
He also warned officers in all local authorities to desist from such activities, adding that action will be taken against any council official who will be found wanting.
“I, therefore, wish to strongly reiterate the content of that circular and further warn that appropriate sanctions will be meted against any of-ficer or local authority found wanting,” Dr Banda noted.
And Sports-In-Action, an organisation running one of the play parks in Lusaka’s Kabwata township has pledged to continue supplement-ing government efforts in building a generation of responsible young people through the use of recreation facilities.
Sport in Action Executive Director Frank Muchindu noted that this is because lack of proper recreation facilities is one of the major causes of delinquent behaviour among youths. – ZANIS.

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