NGO threatens to sue Lusaka City Council over plots

r Lands and Natural Resources Minister Christabel Ngimbu
r Lands and Natural Resources Minister Christabel Ngimbu

THE Disadvantaged Children Pathfinders Association Trust (DCPAT) has threatened legal action against the Lusaka City Council (LCC) for allegedly allocating about 100 plots on a titled piece of land.

The threat comes barely one week after Lands and Natural Resources Minister Christabel Ngimbu accused local authorities in the country of usurping the powers of her ministry by allocating and numbering plots.
DCPAT patron Peter Simpemba said the association would have no choice but join the council as defendants in the matter it had sued other 100 squatters for encroachment.
Mr Simpemba said the action would be taken following the defendant’s insistence that the council owed them a duty-of-care because it allegedly issued them with ownership documents.
The initial case in which DCPAT sought the demolition of about 100 houses on plot number LUS 33857 in Libala South, commonly known as Yellow Shop, was recently taken for arbitration.
But Mr Simpemba said the LCC was crucial in resolving the impasse after the other party claimed during trial that they had valid offer letters from the local authority.

The association has since written to the council and submitted the title deed and other necessary documents showing that the organisation was the rightful owner of the property.
“This procedure is subject to the request made by your handling officers in this matter,” reads the letter in part which was addressed to Lusaka Town Clerk Alex Mwansa.
“Further, take notice that this matter was referred to mediation and in the event where you do not agree we are at liberty to add you as parties, which is outside this process.”
The orgnaisation had written in 2012 to the LCC to seek an alternative area after their area was encroached upon.
However, the local authority advised the DCPAT to either evict the squatters or ask them to buy off the plots they had occupied.
The area is a relatively prime piece of land with mansions too attractive to demolish. According to the 2011 evaluation report by BLK Consultants, each of the 100 plots cost 60,000.
Last week, Ms Ngimbu warned local authorities against offering numbers to plots in order to avoid double allocation of land.
The minister said that numbering plots was not for the councils but that of her ministry and urged officials in local councils to desist from the trend.