Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) has submitted before the Lusaka High Court that it two years ago issued a Protection Order to three companies constructing the Kingsland City project to take appropriate measures to avoid, remedy and mitigate adverse effects of the proposed construction works.
ZEMA has, however, denied liability for the special claim by nine Chongwe traditional leaders that the agency, together with others sued, should take measures to restore the degraded area (Kingsland City project) to the way it was before the developments.
In this matter, Chalimbana River Headwaters Conservation Trust and nine traditional leaders of the Soli people have sued Zambia Airforce Projects Limited and Kingsland City Investment for carrying out construction works on a forest reserve.
Other companies sued include Drimtown Investments Limited, Shangrila Investments Limited and Datong Construction Limited.
Moses Lukwanda, who is senior headman Maoma, senior headman Nkomenshya and eight others are seeking an injunction restraining the defendants from continuing with the construction of the Kingsland City Project in the area, and an order declaring that the developments are a threat not only to the Chalimbana River Catchment but the greater Lusaka Aquifer system.
But in a defence filed on August 9 and 12, this year, ZAF Projects Limited, Drimtown Investments Limited and Shangrila Investments Limited argued that the plaintiffs were not entitled to the reliefs sought, arguing that appropriate measures had been taken into consideration as required by ZEMA for the project not to have adverse effects on the environment.
And in its defence, ZEMA, the sixth defendant in the matter, denied each and every allegation contained in the plaintiff’s statement of claim.
It admitted that there was a petition to the President calling for the protection and conservation of Forest Reserve No 27 and that the area was re-gazetted as a local forest in 1998.
ZEMA further admitted that on September 22, 2017, it issued a Protection Order to Drimtown Investment Limited, Shangrila Investment Limited and Datong Construction Limited to take appropriate measures to avoid, remedy and mitigate adverse effects with regard to the proposed construction of Mixed Use Housing and Infrastructure Development.
It, however, denied liability for the plaintiffs’ specific claim that the defendants should take measures to restore the degraded area to its condition immediately prior to the start of the developments, pursuant to sections 4 and 110 of the Environmental Management Act.
ZEMA also denied liability for the plaintiffs’ claim that the defendants should pay them costs for the action.