Chitungwiza, residents at loggerheads

Victor Maphosa and Yeukai Karengezeka

CHITUNGWIZA residents are at loggerheads with council over the alleged sale of a piece of land at Chigovanyika Shopping Centre.

The residents accuse council of discarding their reservations and going on to sell the land which is earmarked for construction of a fuel service station.

Allegations are that Chitungwiza Municipality illegally sold the piece of land to MetaHill, a company owned by Mr Phillip Guyo.

Residents are also accusing council of disregarding procedures in the sale of open spaces around Chigovanyika Shopping Centre.

The open space is close to residents’ homes, shops and a vegetable market.

There are also other commercial stands which are said to have already been pegged at the open space.

Residents told The Herald that the space which is being used as a car park and car wash is too close to houses and poses a great danger if an accident would occur.

Some of the residents who live near Chigovanyika Shopping Centre, where the service station is to be constructed, said they welcomed any development as long it did not pose a threat to their lives.

One of the residents, Mr Godfrey Manyika, said in case of a fire at the service station, all the nearby residents would be affected.

“We are not against such development in our area. We welcome it, but we have an issue with the position of the service station,” he said.

“Its location worries us, as residents, we feel the service station is too close to our houses.

“If an accident occurs here, all these nearby people will perish. We are not sure if the council has taken that into consideration, or they are just after money.”

Another resident who refused to be named said they had since written to Chitungwiza Municipality to reconsider their decision.

An Environmental Management Agency (EMA) official at the Chitungwiza District Office, who refused to be named, said they had received complaints from residents over the proposed fuel station.

The official said EMA would soon conduct investigations.

He also urged council to consult them whenever developments of such magnitude were being carried out.

He confirmed that an Environmental Impact Assessment was not done as per legal requirement.

Efforts to get a comment from council were in vain as the Town Clerk, Dr George Makunde, Mayor Lovemore Maiko and public relations officer Mr Lovemore Meya were not reachable.

The same piece of land has led to the arrest of Cllr Maiko, works director Engineer David Duma and housing director Mrs Hazel Sithole, who are facing allegations of abuse of office and the matter is still pending at the court.

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