SEVERAL businesses based in Harare and individuals, who lost their properties during an anti-government demonstration organised by the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera) in August last year, yesterday got a reprieve after the High Court ruled that they could sue for damages.
BY CHARLES LAITON
The businesses, represented by local pressure group, Citizens Against Violence and Anarchy Trust (Cavaat), had appeared before High Court judge Justice Owen Tagu seeking the greenlight to mount a class action against Nera for loss of property during the skirmishes.
Justice Tagu granted the order.
In terms of the law, class action cannot be instituted directly without seeking approval from the court.
In his founding affidavit, Cavaat member Elton Ziki said although Nera had a right to conduct a peaceful demonstration, it was also duty-bound in terms of the law to ensure peace during and after the procession.
“The respondent, as the convener, had a duty to ensure that the demonstration was peaceful. It was required to put in place adequate measures to ensure that there was no violence,” Ziki said, adding Nera had a duty to discourage its members from engaging in violent activities.
In terms of the order, Cavaat would be required to cause to be published a notice in the Government Gazette and The Herald newspaper, respectively, the draft notice of the class action.
“The applicant (Cavaat) shall cause the said notice to be read in Shona, Ndebele and English during prime time on all radio stations in Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation television (channel) on five different dates,” read part of the court order.
“The applicant be and is, hereby, appointed to be the representative of the persons concerned in the class action.”