Co-operatives fight for land

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Harare South Housing Union Co-operative Society, together with 21st Century Housing Co-operative, have approached the High Court seeking an eviction order against Magamba Housing Co-operative on several stands, which the latter is accused of invading at Retreat Township in Waterfalls, Harare.

BY CHARLES LAITON

The two housing co-operatives issued the summons against Magamba sometime in 2014, citing the latter as the respondent and the matter appeared on the roll at the High Court this week.

Properties at the centre of the dispute are stated in the court papers as stands 6487 to 6507, 6533, 6535 to 6540 and 6542 of Stand 315 of Retreat Township.

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In their declaration, Harare South Housing Co-operative Society and 21st Century Housing Co-operative said, sometime in August 2012, the Ministry of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development allocated the whole stand 315 of Retreat Township to them for the development of residential, commercial, institutional and industrial stands.

During the same month, the co-operatives said, the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises and Co-operative Development confirmed Harare South Housing Union Co-operative Society was appointed as the responsible body for the administration of housing projects at Stand 315 Retreat Township.

However, sometime in April and May 2014, the co-operative said it started receiving numerous complaints of invasions onto the vacant pieces of land that were lawfully allocated to 21st Century Housing Co-operative.

“The defendant (Magamba Housing Co-operative) and persons claiming membership through it, unlawfully invaded the allocated stands and unlawfully proceeded to claim the stands and commenced removing stands demarcation pegs and putting new stand demarcation pegs,” they said.

“Upon investigating the chaos caused by the invasion into lawfully allocated stands, the plaintiffs discovered that the district administrator’s office had confirmed having allocated the stands to the defendant.”

In response to the application, Magamba Housing Co-operative dismissed the assertions that the land was allocated to the two housing co-operatives.

Magamba dismissed as not true the alleged proof of allocation documents, saying what the two co-operatives had were papers confirming its position on the land.

“This is confirmation of the stands having allocated to the defendants and not plaintiffs. The plaintiffs are misreading the communication from the district administrator,” Magamba Housing Co-operative said.

“The defendant pleads that it is the plaintiffs who have no legal right or otherwise to occupy these stands and puts the plaintiffs to the strict proof of their claim.”

The matter is still pending in court.

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