Nyemudzai Kakore Herald Correspondent
Harare City Council has given upmarket restaurant, Casa Mia, an ultimatum to stop operations or risk its structures comprising a restaurant and gazebo being demolished. Council says Casa Mia, situated in Avondale, has been operating illegally after using a residential property for commercial purposes and erecting an unauthorised gazebo. A letter written by the city’s director of works Engineer Phillip Pfukwa states that an inspection carried out by the city revealed that the restaurant was operating illegally.
“For your information, stand Lot 28 Block A Avondale, otherwise known as 100 King George Avondale, Harare, is situated in a residential zone 2B detached single dwelling houses of the operative City of Harare Avondale Local Development Plan No.39, wherein erection of structures and use of premises for commercial purposes without council approval is prohibited.
“Such use amounts to a contravention of Section 24 of the Regional, Town and Planning Act (Chapter 29:12) Revised edition 1996.
“You are therefore advised to demolish the gazebo and cease the commercial use on or before the 28 of December 2015, failure of which l shall have no option but to issue you with enforcement, prohibition and demolition orders in terms of section 32, 34 and 35 of the Regional and Town Planning Act, (chapter 29:12) Revised Edition 1996,” read part of the letter.
Eng Pfukwa also directed the finance director to impose penalty charges on the restaurant rates account with immediate effect.
Other residents have also complained against the setting up of the restaurant and are seeking council to demolish the structure as it is a danger to the community. Sometime last year, a resident Mr Kelvin Kowo represented by lawyer Mr Steven Rugwaro of Rugwaro and Associates, went to court seeking an injunction and have Casa Mia closed, arguing it was operating illegally.
“Our clients who live next to the establishment and other concerned residents are afraid of the fire risk that is posed by the establishment. They have instructed us to request from you, as we hereby do, that you issue an order to cease operations.
“The risk of a fire breaking is very high considering that 60 percent of the structure is made of thatching grass. Part of their products, pizza, is made using firewood and charcoal, which is highly combustible.”
Casa Mia’s lawyer Mr Beloved Dhlakama said his clients will make every effort to comply with the city’s by-laws. “We will comply with the City of Harare and, we have since responded to Council over the matter,” he said.