Chiefs are dishing out land to Chinese illegally – Kapata

Lands and Natural Resources Minister Jean Kapata says some traditional leaders have a tendency of giving out more than 250 hectares of land to foreigners which is beyond their mandate.

And Kapata has also declared that Lusaka province has run out of land further urging developers to acquire it in other provinces.

She said this when she featured on PF’s Interactive Forum yesterday.

“According to the way land policy has been administered, chiefs are allowed to give land up to 250 hectares. Anything above, they then have to send it to the ministry of lands for the minister to approve. And also as a minister, I am only allowed to approve to up to 1,000 hectares, anything above, I also have to send it to the boss who is the Republican President to approve. And the President approves some and denies some,” Kapata said.

“Perhaps I forgot to mention that Zambian land is vested in the president, he is the one who can revolve any land from foreign nationals. Now, 10 percent of the Zambian land is state land, 90 percent is customary land or under what we call chiefdoms, so to speak under the chiefs. But we have a situation where some of the chiefs, I am not saying everyone with due respect to our royal highnesses, they will give 250 [hectares] again 250, and again 250 to a group of maybe Chinese using different names. By the end of the day that Chinese has so much for himself. And this is why I am saying chiefs are only allowed to give only up to 250 hectares.”

Kapata who is also Mandevu PF member of parliament said her ministry was in the process of drafting the new land policy which would control ownership of land by foreign nationals.

“There has been an outcry from the public that the ministry of land gives land to foreigners, we don’t give land to foreigners, the Zambians themselves sale land to foreigners. If you walk around Olympia, in Roma, in Woodlands, if you ask who is the owner? A Zambian has sold to a foreigner and our hands are tied. As a ministry we can’t say no because you have no say over someone’s land and people have the right to sell their land to whoever they want. But with the new policy, we are going to have to control that because the terms and conditions should apply in terms of a foreigner owning land in this country through the length of tenure,” she said.

Kapata further declared that Lusaka province had run out of land and that being a vicious minister, she would not hesitate to demolish any structure built on public property.

“And I want to put this on record, Lusaka there is no land. Lusaka, Chongwe, Chisamba, Chilanga, Kafue, we have run out of land but we have a lot of land in the outskirts, in the provinces, there is a lot of land. But it’s like everybody else wants to be in town. As minister of land myself, I have declared that there is no land and I have given a warning to the councils to stop creating land,” she said.

“This is where you find that somebody is given land in the road reserve, somebody is given land under the electrical pylon, somebody is given land on top of sewer pipes. And being a vicious minister that I am, if I find such a situation, definitely we shall demolish.”

And Kapata said negotiations were still ongoing with Lusaka Water and Sewerage to bury the sewer ponds in garden compound and pave way for the construction of a secondary school.

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