Government advises communities to vacate road reserves

Blantyre: Government has reiterated its stand that compensation associated with road construction and refurbishment projects would only be limited to property owners with structures located outside road reserves.

Transport and Public Works Minister, Jappie Mhango made the remarks on Thursday when he inspected construction works on the remaining seven kilometers stretch of Zomba Jali Phalombe Chitakale Road.

During the tour, Member of Parliament for Phalombe South, Mary Livunza Mpanga, brought to the attention of the minister matters concerning some people who are demanding payment for their affected property after being left out when assessments were being carried out.

The matter is turning political with some of those involved pestering me and the District Commissioner, Gossam Mafuta for action taking unjustified advantage of the elections next year, said Mpanga.

In response, the minister said it remains unlawful for people to construct houses 10 metres from the road, saying issues of development should not be politicised because they benefit everyone regardless of their political affiliation.

If someone puts up a structure in the road reserve, they should forget about compensation because it means they are breaking the law. Roads are not for individuals but public infrastructure.

Government will not engage in selective justice and treat issues of compensation along the Zomba Jali Phalombe Chitakale Road with exception. If people break the law by encroaching the road reserve, the law must apply, Mhango warned.

Mhango said regardless of the political situation, laws will still apply, noting that the two (politics and development) are independent of each other and different.

The second phase of the road project that is being constructed with funding from the Malawi Government is expected to be completed by November 9, this year.

Project consulting engineer for SMDEC and ROMANA (JV), Mabvuto Mhango said the remaining seven kilometres will be completed by the deadline.

Mhango, however, expressed worry over the impending rainy season, noting that it might affect progress of the road construction works.

Source: Malawi News Agency MANA