Yeukai Karengezeka Herald Correspondent
Chitungwiza Municipality’s bid to evict and demolish “illegal” vending structures at Zengeza 2 market place has failed after the High Court ruled in favour of the vendors and imposed an interdict on the local authority.
Council had allocated the same space to Econet this year, for a business centre which is in line with its five-year Strategic Plan.
Recent minutes of the Finance Committee revealed that plans to build the centre had been shelved pending the court case.
“Acting Housing and Community Services director Mr Tendai Chinganga advised the committee that they had faced setbacks during the Service Level Benchmark for Chitungwiza where the municipal police was deployed together with Zimbabwe Republic Police to evict and demolish illegal structures which invited litigation,” he said.
The vendors won the case after producing an offer letter given to them by the former town clerk Mr Godfrey Tanyanyiwa.
“There was a letter which was written by the then town clerk Tanyanyiwa which was used against us in court and council lost the case.
“It was advised that council was not supposed to tamper with the structures and the area was supposed to continue housing the markets.
“He indicated that there was an interdict against council not to demolish and at the moment municipality hands were tied,” read the minutes.
Mr Chinganga also said that people operating at that area owed council over $5 500 hence measures were put in place to recover the money.
On the same note acting chamber secretary Mrs Mary Mukonyora pointed out that council had not lost the matter as the court had only grated the vendors interim relief and council was working on some documents that its lawyers were still scrutinising.
Committee chairperson Councillor Peter Matiringe then asked who was responsible for pegging that area and Mr Chinganga replied that the land was not pegged, but the vendors had done their demarcations without council approval.
The same committee bemoaned delays in reallocating traders to official operating spaces which was largely attributed to shortage of manpower at the Works department.
Clr Kevin Mutimbanyoka felt that there was need to escalate the issues to the parent Ministry as the general feeling was that the director of Housing and Works department was messing around.