City of Harare taken to court over Eyestone demolitions

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Harare South Housing Apex Co-operative Society has filed an urgent chamber application seeking to interdict the City of Harare from continuing with demolition of houses and structures at Eyestone Farm.

BY CHARLES LAITON

The co-operative’s application followed the recent move by the City of Harare to demolish what it termed illegal structures built on its land, a claim that has since been challenged by the co-operative.

On October 10, 2017, the City of Harare is said to have proceeded to partially demolish homes belonging to the co-operative’s members without serving notices on the co-operative or the affected individuals.

Co-operative chairperson Tonderai Nkomo said the action by the City of Harare was contrary to the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

“Respondent (City of Harare) has acted unlawfully and improperly in demolishing applicant’s members’ (co-operative) structures in violation of section 51 and 68 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe; in violation of the standing agreement between applicant and the Local Government, Public Works and National Housing ministry; and in violation of the court orders referred to above,” Nkomo said.

“Respondent’s actions carried out without a court order amount to self-help and taking the law into its own hands especially given that there is a pending matter before this court under case number HC11117/16 wherein the respondent is seeking eviction against everyone occupying Eyestone Farm.”

Nkomo argued that the occupation of the disputed land by members of his co-operative was legal and had been given the green light by responsible authorities.

“Their occupation of the land is lawful and not illegal as claimed by the respondent in view of the partnership agreement referred to above. All investment made on the stands will be lost for no cause. Applicant’s members will be left homeless with no alternative land when they have a genuine right of occupation and claim to the land in issue,” he said.

“The land in question is suitable for residential purposes and applicant obtained all relevant approvals for the project including approval from the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe.”

Nkomo urged the court to hear the matter on an urgent basis, saying: “Applicant fears that respondent will return on any day soon to demolish the remaining structures and thereafter unlawfully evict it and its members and remove all its members’ properties from their respective stands.”

The matter is yet to be set down for hearing.