A CHITUNGWIZA magistrate yesterday stopped Chitungwiza Municipality’s planned demolition of more than 100 houses built on undesignated sites.
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
Magistrate Takunda Mtetwa issued the order after the local authority failed to provide a valid court order authorising the demolitions.
“It is ordered that respondent refrains, desist from destruction and or authorising or causing the destruction and or destruction of the applicants’ houses without a valid or order to that effect from a competent court of law. The first respondent (Chitungwiza Munipality) to bear costs of suit,” he ordered.
The residents took the legal route after Chitungwiza Municipality started demolishing illegal structures in February 2014.
Before that, residents had tried to engage the town authorities seeking to stop the demolitions, but their pleas were ignored.
Residents then petitioned council against the demolitions on January 27, 2014, and gave them a seven–day ultimatum which they ignored, resulting in the court action.
Initially, the government had planned to demolish 14 000 houses in Chitungwiza, but then Local Government deputy minister Joel Biggie Matiza, who led a probe team into Chitungwiza’s illegal allocation of land to desperate home seekers, said the matter was now being handled by the local authority.
The municipality then ordered the residents who were allocated illegal residential stands to vacate the area.