Residents lose demolitions case

nyundoChief Court Reporter
Three Manyame residents whose homes were destroyed during the  demolition of illegal structures last year, had their case challenging the move thrown out by the High Court yesterday. Hundreds of houses were demolished in Chitungwiza and Manyame on the strength of court orders obtained by the two local authorities.

The affected residents had inappropriately built houses on wetlands, municipal service lines and areas designated for other purposes in breach of council by-laws.

The High Court yesterday heard the application brought by three residents Michael Dzikiti, Paradzai Chipato and Phillip Mbengeranwa.

The three had built their structures at an undesignated area at Dema Growth Point and wanted an order declaring the action by Manyame Rural District Council null and void.

But Justice Mary Dube threw out the application with costs after hearing arguments by both parties’ counsel.

Advocate Thabani Mpofu, instructed by Coghlan, Welsh and Guests, represented Manyame RDC, while the trio was represented by Mr Marufu Mandevere.

Adv Mpofu asked the court to dismiss the trio’s application, arguing that there was a dispute of fact on whether or not the structures that were destroyed were homes, citing the ordinary and legal meaning of the word “home”.

He said that the dispute of fact could not be resolved on affidavit evidence and the applicants should have foreseen that there was such a dispute.

The trio had also claimed damages for the destruction of their homes, but Adv Mpofu argued that such claims should be brought on an action and not application.

Justice Dube agreed with Adv Mpofu and threw out the application.

Mr Mandevere sought to have the matter referred to trial, but Justice Dube dismissed it with costs.

In the application, Mr Mandevere wanted the court to nullify the demolitions, arguing that they constituted an infringement of his clients’ fundamental rights as enshrined in the Constitution.


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