The Government is preparing to demolish 3 000 houses in Woodlands Suburb of Gweru once a careful study of a report submitted by the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) is done.

The Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities, Daniel Garwe said this after conducting a tour of the suburb last week.

Garwe said River Valley Properties neither followed procedure nor sought approval from EMA and Gweru City Council when it developed the suburb and as a result Woodlands is not only located near a dumpsite but it is in a pollution belt of an industrial area and a large section of it is sitting on a wetland.

The delegation which included the Minister of State for Midlands Province Larry Mavima also visited Ascot Extension and Montrose where stands were allocated in wetlands.

Last year, President Emmerson Mnangagwa called for investigations into alleged corrupt practices by a land developer, River Valley Properties.

The Commission of Inquiry into the sale of state Land around urban areas presented its report to President Mnangagwa showing that the country has lost $3 billion to land barons since 2005.

Among a number of such cases in the Midlands province, the Commission accused housing developer River Valley Properties represented by directors Smelly Dube, Richard Chiwara and Mncedisi Dube of engaging in corrupt practices at the Hertfordshire development.

“Mahlaba Housing Programme (River Valley Properties Pvt Ltd) colluded with engineers from City of Gweru who prepared and ‘approved’ engineering drawings and thereafter, and in some cases, ‘supervised’ or carried out the actual work,” reads the Commission’s report.

Garwe said the demolition of the suburb will be anytime soon and the land developer will be responsible for compensating the affected residents.

“Government policy is very clear on wetlands and l will be very clear that all houses on wetlands will be demolished.

“We now need a detailed report on the settlement so that we are adequately informed on whether it’s feasible to relocate the dumpsite and leave people here.

“Whatever decision we take, the costs will be met by the developer.

“If we decide to move the dumpsite and leave the people which is unlikely, the developer will still meet the costs of building a new dumpsite,” said Garwe.

The Mirror/ Zwnews