Eleven Chitungwiza residents have approached the High Court seeking to bar the municipality from demolishing their properties allegedly built on undesignated grounds.
BY CHARLES LAITON
According to an application filed on Monday this week, the applicants in the matter, Nyatsime Beneficiaries Trust and 11 individuals, cited Chitungwiza Municipality as the respondent in the land dispute which has since been set to be heard next Monday before Justice David Mangota.
In the affidavit filed by Alice Matambo, the residents and council are involved in a land dispute which arose after the land was subdivided and sold to members of the trust.
“On January 13, the respondent served members of the first applicant (Nyatsime Beneficiaries Trust) with a notice to vacate the land, failure of which their homes would be destroyed summarily without a court order,” she said.
“The respondent (Chitungwiza Municipality) has, however, sought to repossess the land by any means necessary.”
According to court papers, Chitungwiza Municipality initially sought to evict the residents through an urgent chamber application, which was apparently dismissed, but the residents said they feared they could be left homeless if the municipality proceeded to execute its threat.
They argued it was a contravention of the Constitution for the municipality to pull down their properties without a valid court order allowing the actions.
“The applicants, therefore, seek that the impending evictions and demolitions be stopped and further that the said summary destruction of houses and eviction without a court order be declared unconstitutional,” they said.
On January 13 this year, the municipality wrote to the residents accusing them of illegally occupying council land. Part of the letter read: “Further, take notice that within 48 hours from service of this notice upon you, you must depart from the land, remove all your property from the land, demolish any structures you may have erected on the land and remove all the rubble from the land.”
The council went further to state that in the event that the residents failed to comply with the directive, council would move in and demolish the houses.