Vice-President Saulos Chilima has told Blantyre City Council (BCC) to vacate an injunction which some property owners obtained against implementation of the Operation Red Star Campaign.
Chilima, who is also Minister of Economic Planning and Development and Public Sector Reforms, said this in an interview yesterday after meeting officials from BCC, Blantyre, Chiradzulu, Chikwawa and Nsanje district councils as part of his quarterly review reforms meetings.
He said the initiative needs to be revived in a bid to fix the city.
Said Chilima: “When there is an injunction people go to court to vacate it. In this case, the injunction needs to be vacated because you can’t start a campaign and then abandon it. It doesn’t happen that way.”
He said there is need for councils to ensure good planning, stressing that appropriate structures need to be placed at the right place citing schools in some cities where they are placed next to other schools.
In addition, Chilima said councils must not wait to receive to implement their activities but rather, proceed in making their plans while waiting for funding.
The Red Star Campaign was an initiative launched in 2015 to demolish substandard buildings in Blantyre and Limbe central business districts (CBD).
However, the project hit a snag after some property owners obtained a court injunction that tied the hands of the council.
In an interview, BCC acting chief executive officer Costly Chanza, declined to comment on the matter, saying it is still in court. He, however, said some developers have started submitting to the council plans to build structures.
About 54 developers obtained an injunction in 2016 restraining the council from carrying out the campaign, leaving the city with substandard structures not safe for use.
In February 2015, immediate past president Peter Mutharika inaugurated the Red Star Campaign that saw 161 buildings starred for demolition to make Limbe and Blantyre CBDs meet international standards.