Details of land demarcated by the Lusaka City Council and sold without community and security concerns were revealed in Parliament yesterday.
Monze central Member of Parliament Jack Mwiimbu revealed that land adjacent to State House and the water treatment plant had been demarcated and offered to “foreigners” without consideration of the strategic location of the property.
He has now called on Government to cancel and repossess all the land including play parks that were demarcated and sold without considering community and security interests.
Mr Mwiimbu said Government must cancel and repossess all the land including play parks that have been sold by the Lusaka City Councils because they cannot be sold without the Ministry of Local Government’s approval.
Contributing to the report of the Committee on Communication, Transport, Works and Supply. Mr Mwiimbu said it was incumbent upon the Minister of Local Government and Housing to protect parks because the council had no powers to sell them without his approval.
Mr Mwiimbu said despite the Local Government Act section 67(2) which states that no council properties might be sold without the approval of the Local Government Minister, Lusaka City Council had gone ahead to sell some properties.
He said the Ministry of Local Government should consider the sensitivity of locations for some of the properties they wanted to sell to private developers.
Mr Mwimbu said for instance the land near State House was strategic to the nation because the water works were close to it.
He said it was wrong for the Minister of Local Government to claim that the council had the mandate to sell public properties such as parks without its approval.
The Monze parliamentarian said Government was supposed to offer guidance and cancel offer letters that had already been given to private developers.
But when the issue was raised by Chongwe Member of Parliament Sylvia Masebo during the questions for oral answer the Minister of Local Government and Housing Dr John Phiri said that there was only one park that had been sold.
The Minister confirmed that Looters tennis and basketball courts in Libala had been sold and that they were trying to protect it from encroachers.
He said LCC had followed procedure in selling the park and that residents of Libala had been consulted.
“When I first heard of this from one of the daily tabloids, I instructed my permanent secretary to institute investigations and the report I am giving you is a comprehensive one. From the ministry’s point of view there was no need for the council to seek the minister’s approval because Looters was zoned for mixed use so we are satisfied as a ministry that things were done in the right way,” he said.
But the response prompted Ms Masebo to ask for a categorical answer if the ministry was aware that LCC had sold other properties in Lusaka.
When the minister stood to speak he tried to dodge the question by saying that the ministry would take that into consideration, prompting Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Patrick Matibini to force him to state if he was aware or not of other properties that had been sold.
Ms Masebo then said she was aware of the nursery near State House that had since been sold to private developers.
Mazabuka Member of Parliament Garry Nkombo asked Dr Phiri if it was Government policy to continue leasing or selling facilities that were meant for recreational activities.
He said the recent sale of the Looters park in Libala was worrying because it would deprive the young people of recreational facilities.