–Minister of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, Wilbur Simusa, has called on the public to take advantage of the forth coming Agricultural and Commercial Show in Lusaka and acquaint themselves with procedures involved in land acquisition.
Mr Simusa observed that people have continued being swindled of their hard-earned money because they lack information on proper channels of transitions involved when buying land.
He said the ignorance level on land in the country is worrying, adding that the Ministry of Lands has been prompted to scale up sensitization on land matters.
He wondered why people would accept to buy land without proper documentation from the state.
Mr Simusa said people need to know that land in Zambia belongs to government which has devolved its powers to local councils as agents.
He said the local council has no authority to sale any piece of land without approval from government.
The lands minister noted with concern why councils have tolerated councillors to sell land, adding that there is nowhere in the constitution where councillors are allowed to sell land on behalf of government.
Mr Simusa said councillors are supposed to be advisors on developmental matters in their respective areas and not agents for the local council.
He explained that most of the illegal settlements in the country are as a result of tolerance to lawlessness and disrespect for the law.
Mr Simusa said it is unfortunate that people could fight and kill each other over land all because one person cheated on them.
He said government will not spare any person found wanting or defrauding members of the public as the law is clear on who are the custodians of land in the country and who has the powers to allocate land.
He noted with sadness that some people have gone to an extent of encroaching private people’s land and dividing it among themselves, a situation which has resulted in the outbreak of land conflicts.
Mr Simusa, who cited Lusaka as one area with more illegal land allocation, said government will not hesitate to dissolve councils that fail to maintain law and order in land allocation.
He said as minister responsible for Land Natural Resources and Environmental Protection he wanted to stop corruption and correct the wrong precedent set by previous governments pertaining to land.
He said if councils fail to cooperate with what government wants, he will revoke the authority and ban the sale of land in their respective councils like he previously banned the sale of timber.
Meanwhile, Mr Simusa has called on civil servants in the country to help government deliver on its promises by ensuring that they work according to governments plan.
He said civil servants are important partners in development as they are a representative of government in the country.
He said a divided civil service is a receipt for disaster in any country, adding that government depends on their output in order to deliver development to its people.