Blantyre City Council (BCC) says it is illegal to build houses on Soche Hill and that the people who are doing this are encroaching on the hill, which is a protected area; hence, they have to relocate.
Speaking to Malawi News Agency yesterday, BCC public relations manager Anthony Kasunda, said people are not allowed to build houses in fragile and reserved places such as Soche Hill.
“Soche Hill is an environmentally fragile area and protected. No human habitation in a form of housing infrastructure is allowed,” he said.
Asked what BCC is doing about people who have already encroached, Kasunda said the council has always evicted encroachers and that they carry out periodic enforcement activities to demolish illegal structures and relocate people to safer areas such as South Lunzu in Machinjiri.
Due to rapid urbanisation, more people continue to occupy fragile open spaces within Soche Hill.
Kasunda said BCC faces challenges with local chiefs who are creating parallel structures by allocating land to settlers.
He said BCC is working with other agencies such as police, Forestry Department, Environmental Affairs Department and the local community to curb the problem. n