BY TAFADZWA KACHIKO
HARARE Provincial Affairs and Devolution secretary Tafadzwa Muguti and Chitungwiza acting town clerk Evangelista Machona face a three-year jail term each after defying a High Court prohibition order to stop on-going demolitions in the dormitory town.
The High Court prohibition order was granted last year.
Chitungwiza Residents Trust and it’s director Alice Kuveya on Friday made a chamber application for contempt of court under case number 393/22,, in which Machona and Muguti are third and fourth respondents, respectively.
The other respondents are Chitungwiza Municipality and the City of Harare.
On June 10 last year, High Court judge Justice Edith Mushore prohibited, under case HC2857/2021, the demolition of all informal traders’ structures in Harare and Chitungwiza.
The order stated that demolitions were not in compliance with the law, in particular section 32 of the Regional, Town and Country Planning Act (Chapter 29:12), and section 3 of the Administrative Justice Act.
“The court ordered that all demolitions be stayed pending determinations of their legality. However, that order was completely disregarded by the respondents who have commenced demolitions of informal traders’ structures in Harare and Chitungwiza,” Kuveya stated in the application.
“I made enquiries with Chitungwiza Municipality as to why the demolitions were being carried out in defiance of a court order that I had obtained, and I was advised that there was no council resolution to proceed with these current demolitions, but Machona and Muguti were acting unilaterally.
“I attach hereto a January article by the NewsDay in which Machona confirmed her hand in the demolitions and warned that they would continue. After the interim order granted by this court, Muguti also made utterances in which he openly denigrated the order and also foretold that the demolitions would continue in the face of that order.”
The court ruling states that: “The third and fourth respondents shall serve alternate three-month jail terms for contempt of this honourable court until such time as they purge their contempt and comply with orders of this court under HC2857/21.
“The first and second respondents be, and are hereby barred from filing any papers before this honourable court until such time as they shall have purged their contempt of court. All court papers filed by the first and second respondents before this honourable court under HC2857/21, be, and are hereby struck out of the record.”
Machona and Muguti are yet to respond to the application.
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