Lands Minister Jean Kapata says since Forest Reserve 27 in Lusaka’s Twinpalm area was demarcated and plots allocated to some Zambians, no one has complained to her office.
Forest reserve number 27 is the last surviving woodland of Lusaka where Kingsland City is being built, after it was degazetted and commercialized for residential plots by a private Chinese company in conjunction with the Zambia Air Force.
The Busoli Royal Establishment under the leadership of Chieftainess Nkomeshya Mukamambo has however sued the land developers, seeking a court decision to halt the project after it was established that there was no ZEMA approval for the works being done on the forest reserve, among other reasons.
Speaking during the PF interactive forum, Sunday, Kapata said no one had complained about the de-gazzetion to give plots to “a few Zambians”.
She was responding to a question from one of the journalists who wanted to know what she was doing to protect the forests given the outcry over contamination at Forest Reserve 27.
“First of all, I want to say that I have not received anything in written and as long as I have not received anything in written, I cannot react to something that is going on on social media. And if people are aggrieved, let them visit our offices. It is true indeed, we did demarcate forest 27 and some plots were allocated to a few Zambians,” Kapata said.
And Kapata said government through her ministry, was in the process of revoking some timber licenses in selected districts of North Western and Western Provinces.
“Government has put a ban on Mukula and the ban stands until we control the activities in the bush. The reasons are very simple, it takes Mukula 90 years to mature before it is cut. And it only takes three minutes for someone to cut it. And the people who are cutting, they don’t even plant any tree. We put a rule that you cut one tree, you plant five but nobody is doing that. I am challenging the Zambians who cry about Mukula, to come and show me where they have planted. And I am also in the process of revoking some timber licences because some areas in Western Province, North Western, some people are cutting indiscriminately. I even have some information that some chiefs in some parts of the country are giving foreigners licences when licences are supposed to be give by ministry of Lands and natural resources in the forestry department. So I am going to revoke some licenses in a few districts in Western Province and North Western Province until we bring sanity in the issues of forestry,” she said.
She also warned people in the habit of illegally allocating land saying the law would not spare anyone.
“Let me repeat myself though I have said this on several occasions, no one will be spared as there will be no sacred cows in this process. People ought to follow normal procedure when acquiring land and avoid complications,” warned Kapata.
Meanwhile, Kapata urged the people of Katuba to vote for the PF in the up-coming by-election saying it was the only party that could deliver development.