Chief Justice Ireen Mambilima has directed the newly appointed Lusaka Province Planning Appeals Tribunal to quickly resolve land planning disputes in the province.
ZANIS reports that Justice Mambilima said there is need for the tribunal to work with speed and ensure that disputes surrounding planning for land development and construction are swiftly attended to and resolved.
The Chief Justice said this when she swore in five members of the Lusaka Province Planning Appeals Tribunal in Lusaka today.
Mr Joseph Katolo was sworn in as President of the Tribunal with Muhau Wina as his Vice, alongside Peter Nsombo, Wilma Nchito and Joseph Zulu who were sworn in as members.
Justice Mambilima acknowledged that Lusaka Province is experiencing land development challenges and urged the tribunal to tackle among others cases of illegal land development, illegal sub division of land and illegal change of land use.
She challenged the tribunal members to ensure that justice is not delayed and denied to people and other stakeholders involved in land development planning disputes.
Justice Mambilima explained that the constituting of the Planning Appeals Tribunal follows the dissolution of the former Town and Country Planning Tribunal.
She said this followed the enactment of the Urban and Regional Planning Act no. 3 of 2015, which replaced the Town and Country Planning Act Cap 283 and the Housing (Statutory Improvement Areas) Act Cap 194 as the new authority on adjudication of land development planning appeals.
The Chief Justice stated that the enactment of the Urban and Regional Planning Act arose from the need to address rigidity of the repealed Town and Country Planning Act and provide more flexibility when resolving the planning disputes.
Justice Mambilima also said the new Act intends to ensure that land under customary tenure is properly planned together with traditional leaders.
She further stated that the Urban Act will help to decentralise planning functions to Local Authorities and adjudication of appeal cases at provincial level.
Local Government and Housing Minister Charles Banda and his Permanent Secretary Amos Malupenga and other senior government and Judiciary officials attended the swearing in ceremony.