Court orders council to repair demolished shed

CHINHOYI Municipality has been ordered to stop pulling down vendors’ stalls and repair sheds damaged during a demolition exercise carried out a fortnight ago.

By Everson Mushava

High Court judge Justice Jacob Manzunzu on Monday granted the order to stop the demolition of vending stalls and property belonging to small and medium enterprises as well as informal vendors at Gadzema flea market in the agricultural town.

This was after some informal traders, represented by Kudzai Choga and Obey Shava of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, filed an urgent chamber application on May 6 seeking an order to stop the local authority from demolishing their vending stalls and confiscating their wares.
In the application, the informal traders argued that the demolitions violated their right to property as enshrined in section 71 of the Constitution.

Justice Manzunzu also ordered the local authority to renovate structures damaged by municipal police officers.

The judge stated that in the event that Chinhoyi wished to carry out demolitions of some vending stalls at Gadzema Flea Market, it should comply with the provisions of section 32 of the Regional, Town and Country Planning Act as read with section 199(2)(c) of the Urban Councils Act.
The provision requires proper notice of any proposed demolition of illegal structures to be given to the owner of such a structure.

The provision also allows for an appeal against the notice to be filed with the Administrative Court within 28 days, during which period no action may be taken on the basis of the notice until the appeal is either determined or abandoned.

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