Blantyre City Council has proposed that city councils should take total control of city land to reduce land disputes in cities.
The council’s director of town planning Costly Chanza made the proposal on Friday when Minister of Local Government Lingson Belekanyama visited Blantyre Civic Offices on a familiarisation tour.
He was responding to the minister’s inquiry on whether the council faces challenges in land management and how it handles the issues.
Said Chanza: “We face many challenges in land management such as encroachment and shortage of land for city developments due to multiple land ownership within the city.”
He said the biggest land owner in cities are Ministry of Lands, followed by Malawi Housing Corporation (MHC) and then councils, which makes it difficult for them to inspect the land.
Said Chanza: “Ministry of Lands is supposed to be a regulator and not an operator. Our plea is that the council should be given total control of urban land.”
On his part, Belekanyama said it is worrisome that there is some land which has been idle for years without being developed.
During the tour, the minister also learnt that the city council needs about K18.1 billion for the construction and rehabilitation of sewer lines and waste water treatment plants to improve sanitation in the city.
The council’s chemist Flavius Kamwani said the council has an old sewer system which releases poor quality waste water and that some waste water treatment plants like the one at Soche in the city were constructed in 1958 and need major rehabilitation.
He said out of the K18 079 943 315.86 proposed budget, about K8.2 billion will go towards rehabilitation of treatment plants, K300 million for procurement of modern sewer lines and laboratory monitoring equipment while K9.6 billion will be used for rehabilitation of trunk sewers.
In his remarks, Belekanyama asked how the council generates income through sewer management, to which Kamwani said the council collects revenue through sludge emptying, trade effluent monitoring and sewer connection fees.
After the meeting, Belekanyama, who was accompanied by director of local government service Malango Botomani, met councillors at Blantyre City mayor Wild Ndipo before touring Soche Waste Water Treatment Plant.