Freeman Razemba Crime Reporter
HUNDREDS of people have left Caledonia Farm after their houses were demolished following a court order, while defiant individuals were yesterday trying to rebuild their structures.
The High Court recently ruled that the structures were built illegally and last Friday and Saturday, the Deputy Sheriff pulled down structures belonging to about 3 700 families using bulldozers.
According to reports, this has prompted Nhaka yeMadzitateguru Edu, a consortium of 30 housing co-operatives at Caledonia Eastern Height Farm to file an urgent High Court application seeking to stop the demolitions. The case is set to be heard on Tuesday. The farm is owned by Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Deputy Minister Paddy Zhanda and Ms Rina Loonie Du Toit.
A visit to the farm yesterday showed that most people had left the farm, while a handful were rebuilding their structures claiming they had nowhere to go.
They had spent the night outside near a road along the farm and most of them could be seen carrying their property and goods. Almost all the families had bought 300 square metre stands from the consortium.
Most of them alleged that they were shocked to see their structures being demolished and were not aware of any court order.
One of the settlers who identified himself as Baba Tinotenda said: “I started living here in June this year after paying $150 to the housing co-operative and another $100 as joining fee. We were then made to pay $60 per month.”
He said the money was deposited in a ZB Bank account on a monthly basis, while others were made to deposit the money in a CABS account.
In May, the High Court ordered a group of Zanu-PF supporters who had invaded a portion of Caledonia Farm to vacate the property with immediate effect pending finalisation of the land dispute.
Justice Felistus Chatukuta sitting in his chambers granted the application for the interim order.
“Pending the determination of this matter . . . applicants and all persons claiming lawful occupation through them be and are hereby restored to free undisturbed possession, use occupation and control over Lot 1 of Caledonia measuring approximately 297,436ha held under Deed of Transfer 8541 /96,” she said.
The judge also ordered a Cde Zvidzai Kawocha, believed to have led the occupation and all other persons acting in common purpose with him to vacate the property.
“Failing their vacation . . . the Sheriff of Zimbabwe be and is hereby authorised and empowered to attend to the eviction of all such persons.”
Cde Kawocha, Lands and Rural Resettlement Minister Douglas Mombeshora and Chief Inspector Mahwe who is officer-in-charge Mabvuku police station were cited as respondents.
Cde Zhanda and Ms Du Toit sought a High Court interdict against the three after Cde Kawocha and a group he worked with were believed to have taken the law into their own hands and invaded the property.