Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development has warned people in the country against encroaching protected areas saying every citizen should follow right procedures when acquiring land.
The warning comes in the wake of encroachment of land earmarked for various development projects in Chikwawa District.
Commissioner of physical planning in the ministry Felix Tukula was speaking on Friday during a full council meeting aimed at scrutinising the district’s physical development plan.
Tukula said it was sad that despite people knowing that some land was protected, they were still encroaching by constructing houses and other infrastructure, among other things.
“We still have cases of people still encroaching protected land reserved for roads expansion and forest reserves. I should state that government will not condone such activities,” Tukula said.
He, however, said the district physical development plan would help resolve some of the issues as it includes the biggest irrigation project which incorporates land issues that will benefit farmers.
“The ministry introduced new land laws in 2016 and some of legislations are in operational.
“But some of the laws like the Customary Land Act require that all land has to be planned and structures in terms of administration and management at local levels have to be established,” Tukula said.
He added that the law provides for administration, management and even planning of land to be the responsibility of district councils.
“Soon some officials will be in the district to sensitize communities at village and Traditional Authority level.
“Between now and May, we should have clear guidelines on how districts will be developed,” he said.
Member of Parliament for Chikwawa West Kennedy Maluwa asked the ministry to consider extending physical planning messages across to traditional leaders saying they lack knowledge on how land should be administered.