NINE residents of Budiriro 4 in Harare have petitioned the High Court seeking an order to interdict the local authority from demolishing their houses.
BY CHARLES LAITON
Through their lawyers, Manyurureni and Company, the residents filed an urgent chamber application on September 17, citing the City of Harare and Local Government minister July Moyo, as respondents.
“The first respondent (City of Harare) has not sought the order of the honourable court. Instead, they are relying on the Urban Council by-laws of 1979. The said statutory instrument cannot override the supreme law of the land. Further, I am reliably advised that the Constitution entitles me (Shepard Machokoto) to administrative justice. First respondent cannot, therefore, take the law into its own hands and demolish my structure without having recourse through courts of law,” Machokoto said in his founding affidavit.
Machokoto said he, together with his co-applicants, were recently served with notices to vacate and demolish their homes.
“The said notice, among other things, directs me to vacate the piece of land I am currently occupying. It further directs that I must remove my belongings and demolish the structure I have erected on the said piece of land, failure which first respondent will execute the demolition on its own, any expenses I incurred in the process will be to my account,” he said.
“The move contemplated by the first respondent is, indeed, vindictive and capricious. Further, it adversely affects my rights, legitimate expectations and interests. In addition, no court of law has sanctioned any such move. First respondent’s conduct is outright illegal in as much as it infringes upon my right to be heard before the contemplated steps are taken.”
Machokoto said on August 5, 2015 some of his fellow members from another housing co-operative received similar notices.
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“True to their word, on August 12, 2015, the first respondent, functionaries, in the company of the second respondent (minister), came with bulldozers and razed over a hundred housing units belonging to members of the co-operative to the ground. In the present scenario, it is inevitable that first respondent will execute its threats on a future undisclosed date,” he said. The matter is pending.