Siliya alleged that the three million hectares was a typo error on the billboard and also advert in the state run Daily Mail that announced the change of status from agricultural to commercial use with a further expansion.
The information minister has pleaded with the public to go easy on condemnation but understand that government has no hand in the transaction that has put Kafue River Dingles in the spotlight.
Below is her full statement:
Republic of Zambia
Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services
STATEMENT BY HON. DORA SILIYA, MP, MINISTER OF INFORMATION AND BROADCASTING SERVICES AND CHIEF GOVERNMENT SPOKESPERSON ON THE CHONGWE LAND
Government has refuted claims that it awarded over three (3) million hectares of land located at the south end border of the Kafue River in Chongwe District to Dingles Kafue River Lodge Limited.
The land in question, which is only 335.5 hectares, was leased out to Dingles Kafue River Lodge Limited on 1st May, 1994 for a term of ninety nine (99) years for Agricultural use.
However, twenty four (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.
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 publicare, further, advised that Government has never and will not interfere with land administration in the country.
This is the more reason why members of the public should take interest in the on-going debate on land Reforms so that they can be part of their refinement.
Hon. Dora Siliya, MP
MINISTER OF INFORMATION AND BROADCASTING SERVICES AND CHIEF GOVERNMENT SPOKESPERSON