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Kampyongo defends decision to suspend 3 local authorities

CATHERINE MUMBA, Lusaka
MINISTER of Local Government and Housing Stephen Kampyongo has defended the decision to suspend three local authorities to pave way for investigations into allegations of illegal land transactions.
Mr Kampyongo said the local authorities have lost integrity and trust of members of the public, and that he is only trying to provide direction so that sanity and order are restored.
The minister was speaking yesterday when he featured on Radio Phoenix Let the People Talk Programme.
“I wish to commend all trade unions that have supported my decision to suspend Livingstone, Ndola and Kitwe councils because we can’t keep watching operations breaking down in the local authorities because of illegal activities,” he said.
Mr Kampyongo said his ministry now has an act of Parliament called Urban Planning Act, which was passed into law and will have to be implemented.
He said people should realise that the law cannot be implemented if the rampant illegalities in local authorities are not dealt with.
Mr Kampyongo said there is no law that permits councillors to collect money and allocate land to people.
He said councillors are only supposed to play a role when councils identify a piece of land and get on the ground to do the physical planning so that they can determine what the piece of land can be best used for.
Mr Kampyongo said it is unfortunate that the very people who are supposed to ensure equity in the distribution of land are using their authority for selfish reasons.
He said lack of order and illegal land allocation have led to people building in areas where they are not supposed to build.
“You go to Ndola for example, if you are crossing the Kafubu Bridge, you will discover that people have built right inside the river which is not permitted. And you’ve got the local authority sitting and watching such illegality,” he said.
Mr Kampyongo said it is saddening that people lose their morals by illegally selling land at grave sites.
He said it is time to put a stop to all illegalities before it brings about conflicts as witnessed in other countries.
Mr Kampyongo is determined to see to it that people regain confidence in local authorities.
The minister suspended Livingstone, Ndola and Kitwe City councils last Friday.

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