Home » Legal and Judicial Affairs » Court Rules Against Chitungwiza Demolitions

Chitungwiza Municipality was yesterday barred from proceeding with the demolition of houses it said were built on undesignated sites. Through their lawyer, Mr Marufu Mandevere, the Chitungwiza Residents’ Trust (Chitrest) filed an application seeking an interdict order barring the local authority from demolishing houses.

Chitungwiza Municipality was represented by Mr Takudzwa Mafongoya.

Chitungwiza Civil Court magistrate Ms Marehwanazvo Gofa granted Chitrest’s application and dismissed council’s arguments that the court lacked jurisdiction, the applicants had no locus standi and that the wrong procedure was used.

Ms Gofa said the applicant cited that the homes were their only shelter and demolishing them was an infringement of their constitutional rights.

“The court rules that respondent has no power to demolish homes as stipulated in Section 74 of the Constitution which states that: ‘No person may be evicted from their home, or have their home demolished, without an order of court made after considering all the relevant circumstances’. “Thus, the interdict order is granted and respondent is barred from demolishing the houses of applicants,” ruled Ms Gofa.

Chitrest said the municipality could not destroy houses in Zengeza 5 without a court order.

“This application challenges the constitutionality and lawfulness of council’s actions in the light of Section 74 of the new Constitution,” read part of the application.

The applicants argued that they entered into agreement of sale of stands with the second respondent, Glory to Glory Housing Co-operative.

In response, council’s lawyer Mr Mafongoya said the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the case.

“First respondent submits that the applicants have neither established the value of the property in question beside the unsubstantial US$1 500 which is evident in the purported agreement of sale.

“It is submitted that substantial improvements were made to the stand to improve its value and the house that was built exceeds $10 000 in value,” he added.

Source : The Herald