…… An in-depth analysis of glaring irregularities as the project nears completion despite the case still being active in court

By Scoop Reporter

As the disputed Kalundu mall nears completion, Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) has been exposed of failing to uphold the Law in compelling the contractor to adhere to the conditions it set out.

On July 28, 2017, Shumeite Investment submitted the Environmental Project brief (EPB) for proposed construction of the ultra-modern Business Park.

ZEMA, in accordance with the requirements of the Environmental Management Act No 12 of 2011 as read together with the Environmental Impact assessment regulations, Statutory Instrument No. 28 of 1997, wrote to the Chinese company.

In a letter dated November 9, 2017, ZEMA approved the EPB with conditions which among them included:

  • Condition numbered 3.1.5 stipulated that ‘Shumeite Investment Limited shall obtain consent from immediate neighbours with respect to intrusion on privacy prior to commencement of project activities.
  • Condition numbered 3.1.6 stipulated that ‘Shumeite Investment Limited shall ensure that the maximum number of floors for the building is three i.e. the ground floor, first floor and second floor ONLY
  • Condition numbered 3.1.7 stipulated that ‘Shumeite Investment Limited shall ensure that the distance and /or space between the external wall of the building and the boundary and the boundary line of the adjacent plot and/or plots is not less than 3.048 metres as provided in the Building Regulations under the Public Health Act Chapter 295 of the Laws of Zambia.
  • Condition numbered 3.1.15 throughout the project construction phases, Shumeite Investment Limited shall monitor the dust generation and emissions into air and shall keep the local residents informed on measures taken to suppress dust.

As the illegalities continued and the matter raged on in the High Court, ZEMA reviewed the EPB and revised the conditions in a letter dated January 2, 2018.

Of interest was the removal of condition 3.1.6 which had initially stated the maximum number of floors and condition 3.1.7 regarding the distance or space between the external wall as provided for by the Building Regulations under the Public Health Act Chapter 295 of the Laws of Zambia. No consent was ever obtained from the immediate neighbours.

The building is five floors high towering over the neighbours’ properties.  From the onset of the illegal construction of the mall, the residents have been subjected to dust and noise pollutions.

According to the Laws of Zambia, any pollution is nuisance in Law as provided for in the ZEMA, Local Government and Public Health Acts.

Neighbouring residents now have to endure the noise from te construction, the dust… see the pictures below:

A check by The Scoop yesterday found workers plastering the outside of the building without any dust shields and no effort made to mitigate the noise pollution.

Furthermore, the COVID-19 health guidelines have been flouted as workers are seen working without protective clothing and no masks.

The matter remains active in the High Court of Zambia before Judge Mwila Chitabo, where in his ruling dated April 24, 2019 quashed a decision letter by the Minister of Local Government to accept the request by Shumeite to resume construction which was halted by Lusaka city council through an enforcement notice.

As a result of the ruling, on June 17, 2019 Lusaka City Council suspiciously proceeded to lift the enforcement notice it had issued on June 18, 2017.  The notice stated that development had been carried out without the granting of planning permission as required under part VI of the Urban and regional planning Act 2015 of the Laws of Zambia.

The notice ordered the demolition of developments and restoration of the land to its original state as before the said illegal development.

See the ZEMA letter below:

ZEMA LETTER 18 12 2017 (1)

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