Three of the seven suspended Harare city councillors facing charges of attempting to illegally evict tenants from council houses in the city could return to work after the municipality’s director of housing, Justin Chivavaya, testified in their favour.
Chivavaya last week told a disciplinary hearing that they acted above board, but from the onset, Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo was adamant a crime had been committed and set up probe teams.
Herbert Gomba, Peter Marange and Job Mbadzi appeared before the disciplinary committee on charges of attempting to occupy council houses after they evicted sitting tenants.
Harare magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi is chairing the hearing.
Local Government ministry’s acting director for urban local authorities Madzudzo Pawadyira and Muzarabani district administrator Mike Mazai are other members of the committee.
The other suspended councillors are, Silas Machetu, Paul Gorekore, Johnson Zaranyika and Wellington Katsande. Impeccable council sources said judging from deliberations at last week’s hearing, the councillors have no case to answer.
“Chivavaya told the hearing that what the councillors did was above board and this will obviously clear the city fathers. They have no case to answer,” a source said.
The councillors are accused of attempting to displace tenants in Highfield, Dzivaresekwa and Glen Norah suburbs, allegations the city fathers deny.
Testifying before the committee, the councillors said they followed normal procedures by applying to the town clerk who referred them to the department of housing and community services.
They said they were eventually allocated houses in high-density areas and residential stands in Waterfalls.
Chivavaya corroborated their defence saying all was done above board.
The remaining councillors are expected to appear before the probe team soon.