BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE THE High Court yesterday ordered the City of Harare (HCC) off public pay toilet operations at Market Square and Mbare Musika.
High Court judge Justice Rogers Manyangadze accused the local authority of violating terms of the agreement signed with a local company Disruptive Innovation (Private) Limited.
According to court papers, HCC entered into a private partnership with the applicant and leased out the public toilets at the respective bus terminuses in 2015.
The relationship, however, encountered challenges along the way, and in September 2017, council sought eviction of Disruptive Innovation, but the parties later found each other and abandoned litigation.
This culminated in a deed of settlement of August 2, 2019.
However, HCC went on to displace the applicant, resulting in the matter spilling into the courts.
Disruptive Innovation (Private) Limited cited Mbare district officer, officer commanding Police Mbare district, Trish Mukudu and Harare Metropolitan provincial development co-ordinator Tafadzwa Muguti as respondents.
“There was no court document cancelling the parties’ deed of settlement and ordering the removal of the applicant … the events outlined … establish dispossession of the applicant of property in respect of which it was in peaceful and undisturbed possession. They reflect all the essential features of spoliation,” the judgment read in part.
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“What happened was simply a matter of the first respondent taking the law into its own hands. It dispossessed the applicant, without any lawful authority, who was in peaceful and undisturbed possession of the said premises.”
In February, Manyangadze ordered police, Zanu PF members and the Harare City Council to stop disrupting the company’s operations at Mbare Musika toilets.
Manyangadze granted a spoliation order stating that Disruptive Innovation’s business operations should not be interfered with and should be restored within 48 hours.
The company refurbished the public toilets and has been charging for use of the facilities since 2015.
At one time, the City of Harare sought to evict the company, but High Court judge Justice Zimba Dube ruled against council.
Since then, police and Zanu PF activists have been disrupting the company’s activities to force it out of the deal.
- Follow Desmond on Twitter @DChingarande1