The Government has refuted claims that it awarded over three million hectares of land located at the south end border of the Kafue River in Chongwe District to Dingles Kafue River Lodge Limited.
Chief Government Spokesperson Dora Siliya said the land in question, which is only 335.5 hectares.
Ms. Siliya added that the land was leased out to Dingles Kafue River Lodge Limited on 1st May, 1994 for a term of ninety nine (99) years for agricultural use.
She said 24 years down the line, Dingles Kafue River Lodge Limited applied to Lusaka Province Panning Authority for permission to change land use from agricultural to commercial.
“In line with Section 53 of the Urban and Regional Planning Act No.3 of 2015, Lusaka Province Panning Authority placed an advertisement in the print media to inform members of the public of the intention by Dingles Kafue River Lodge Limited to change land use. Nonetheless, when Lusaka Province Panning Authority placed a bill board in Chongwe District to notify members of the public in that area of Dingles Kafue River Lodge Limited’s intention to change land use, they inadvertently left out a point on the figure of hectares,” explained Ms. Siliya.
She said this has caused members of the public to conclude that Government had sold over 3 million hectares of Land to Dingles Kafue River Lodge Limited when the actual hectarage is just 333.5, which was leased out to Dingles Kafue River Lodge Limited in 1994 for a period of 99 years.
“Government regrets the inconvenience this misinformation has caused to the people of Chongwe District and beyond. I wish to advise members of the public to clarify or verify facts at the relevant offices to have a correct position on the issue. Members of the public are, further, advised that Government has never and will not interfere with land administration in the country,” she said.
But a copy of the tittle deeds issued in 1994 obtained in Lusaka showed that the amount of land issued to Dingles Kafue River Lodge is 335.5470 and not 335.5 hectares as claimed by Ms. Siliya.
The same 335.5470 hectares is indicated in the advertisement placed in the Zambia Daily Mail in a public notice on the change of land use from agriculture to commercial.
The same 335.5470 hectares is also indicated on the Billboard to notify members of the public in Chongwe that Dingles Kafue River Lodge Limited’s intended to change land use.
The development has riled Chongwe residents who have revealed that the project if allowed to proceed will displace 12 villages in Chongwe which will leave thousands of people homeless.