Harare City Council has been ordered to pay about $58 000 to 43 Mbare families who approached the court demanding $100 000 compensation after their properties were damaged by flash floods believed to have been caused by the city’s poor drainage system.
By Everson Mushava
In a judgment delivered by High Court judge Justice David Mangota yesterday, the council was also ordered to pay the costs of suit.
“The defendant is ordered to pay the plaintiff’s sum of $57 556,70 together with costs from date of summons at the interest rate of 5% until full payment,” part of the judgment read. “Defendant to pay costs of suit.”
The residents, through their lawyers Allen Moyo Attorneys, approached the court in May claiming they lost various movable and immovable properties in last year’s flash floods in the populous high-density suburb. The class action was filed under case number HC4127/17.
Tressie Taruvinga and 46 others accused the city authorities of negligently approving construction of Sunshine Bazaar Mall along Simon Mazorodze Road without conducting a proper environmental impact assessment of the project.
The residents further argued that the construction of the mall congested the drainage system, resulting in the flash floods that damaged their homes and household goods.
They were seeking compensation in the sum of $100 556,70, with the money broken down as
$57 556,70 for property and items damaged and swept away, and $43 000 as compensation for shock, loss of sleep and alternative accommodation.
The flash floods affected Mbare residents, particularly those who reside along Dumbutshena, Mwamuka, Mbirimi and Chinamhora streets.
The residents also argued the city, through its chief engineer Jonathan Mutimukulu, did not inspect the clogged pipes caused by the construction of the complex and if they had noted the fault on time, they would have fixed it.
The residents’ lawyer, Moyo, yesterday said: “I believe that justice has been done in this matter despite the delay. The city should be held accountable for their negligence.
Residents look up to the city fathers for service delivery, but in this case, the residents have been made victims.”