… construction resumes despite ban
By Mukosela Kasalwe
A CHINESE firm has yet again defied a Government directive to halt the construction of a four-storey building in Kalundu by Shumeite Investments Limited.
A spot check at the site by the Daily Nation crew yesterday, found that construction work had resumed.
Early this year the Lusaka City Council halted the project because the contractor did not meet the benchmarks needed before the project could take off, adding that among other irregularities, Shumeite was not registered with the National Council for Construction (NCC).
The Zambia Environmental Management Authority (ZEMA) said they would issue a statement on the matter today.
ZEMA senior communications manager, Mercy Zulu said the Inspectorate team were informed and that once they find out what was happening at the construction site, the authority would issue a comprehensive statement.
This is a matter in which Kalundu residents have opposed plans to construct a shopping mall by a Chinese firm (Shumeite Investments Limited) citing environmental and social security concerns among other contentious issues.
Speaking during a stakeholders’ meeting at Cosmic Lodge in Lusaka organised by ZEMA yesterday, residents expressed shock to learn that ZEMA was aware of the illegal construction of the shopping mall, yet did not issue a protection order.
This came to light when the resident through their lawyers took ZEMA officials to task when they demanded the Agency to categorically state whether they had issued a protection order or not after discovering that the construction of the mall was illegal. The residents also demanded to know what measures ZEMA was putting in place to ensure that no construction activity was taking place at the site.
Another resident, Dr Simon Mulenga told ZEMA that as residents, they were going to fight until the construction of the mall was completely stopped and whatever had been constructed was demolished.
He said Kalundu township was predominantly designed as a residential area and not commercial. “We need investors in Zambia such as Chinese but at the same time they are now beginning to displace us (indigenous) Zambians,” Dr Mulenga said.
“The development is very good but it is being done in a wrong place. This investor should bear with us.”
Meanwhile, Shumeite Investments Limited was taken to task to explain how many jobs they would create before and after the completion of the mall.
Mr Daniel Mbewe, a resident, who is also a contractor, asked Shumeite Investments Limited to also state how many companies would be sub-contracted.
Shumeite Investments Limited said they would create 50 to 60 jobs once the shopping mall was completed.