By KETRA KALUNGA
ORDINARY Zambians have also benefitted from the de-gazetting of Forest 27 in Lusaka and not just prominent people, Lands and Natural Resources minister, Jean Kapata has said.
And Ms Kapata said Forest 27 was de-gazetted because of the high demand for land and that there was still a large portion of virgin land in the reserve.
She said it was not true that all the land in forest 27 had been allocated as there was still over 1 000 hectors of land left.
“The reports that only the prominent people in the country have been allocated land in the forest 27 are not true. If you check on the list, ordinary citizens have been given land in the Forest as well,” Ms Kapata said during the Sunday Interview Program on ZNBC.
Ms Kapata said ordinary Zambians who followed the land application procedure have also been allocated land in the forest.
She challenged individuals who were in doubt to check the list of people who had got land in Forest 27 and see if its only prominent people who had benefitted.
Meanwhile, Ms Kapara said the government decided to de-gazzatte the forest following increasing demand for land from the citizenry.
She also said water sources had not been affected by the de-gazetting of Forest 27.
“Forest 27 is still there, 1 000 plus hectors of land has been left and the law says 50 metres way from the water source so that 50 metres is in the 1000 hectors left to guide the recharge,” said Ms. Kapata. And Mr Kapata announced that the minimum age for people to acquire land from Government had been reduced from 21 years old to 18 years.
She said the reduction would cater for the youths who needed empowerment through land.