GOVERNMENT suspects that some materials used in the Zororo Memorial Park gravesites along Seke Road might be interfering with flight operations at the nearby Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport.
Zororo Memorial Park is a cemetery located between Harare and Chitungwiza about 14km from Harare CBD. It was incorporated at a time when Harare was running out of burial space due to a rapid increase in population and a relatively high death rate.
The cemetery, stretching to within the banks of Hunyani River, boasts a chapel, a crematorium, a tombstone manufacturing plant and some beautiful landscaping.
Whilst it has helped ease burial pressure in both Harare and Chitungwiza, the materials on the graves – tombstones, flowers and other burial paraphernalia – are now believed to interrupt with flights.
Harare Metropolitan Province Secretary for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Tafadzwa Muguti, made the revelations yesterday and said authorities have since resolved to no allow any other new cemeteries to be developed close to an airport.
“There were suspicions that materials used in the present Zororo Memorial Park gravesites could be interfering with flight operations,” Muguti said, but would not clarify the extent or nature of the interference.
He added that another area close to the airport which PPC Cement Zimbabwe had fenced has been taken over by Government as it is designated for future runways.
All developments and houses being built in the area were considered illegal hence construction had to be halted or else they would be demolished, Muguti warned.
“We have red, yellow, and green zones and as it is now, the bulk of the developments that occurred between February last year and today are all in the red zone which means they are prone to disaster.
“Any developments in that zone have to be specifically aligned to the functions of an airport that is why we are not keen on people occupying that land. We are approaching all courts and all the houses sitting within the red zone will be demolished. The law is the law,” said Muguti.
“We also have residents who have been complaining about the area which has been fenced off by PPC. There was a judgment where that land was compulsorily acquired by the Government.
“However, the Government did not compensate at the point of acquisition. But that does not mean that the land goes back to PPC because once the Government has fully procured the land and taken over, it is then surrendered to the authority.