By Margret Chogugudza
CHITUNGWIZA magistrates’ Court last Thursday Friday issued a provisional court order barring the municipality from proceeding with the planned demolition of houses.
The court order was granted following an appeal made by residents who were represented by Marufu Mundevere from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.
The residents resorted to the court action after the Chitungwiza acting town clerk Mrs. Charity Mauringa stated that all occupants who settled themselves illegally should vacate by not later than 11th of February. She said failure to heed the call will result in council evicting the illegal occupants, as well as destroying their structures.
Initially the municipality wanted to demolish more than 100 houses that were built illegally on land earmarked for churches, schools, cemeteries, drainage system, electricity pylons and water pipes as shown by the land audit conducted by the council.
The high levels of corruption at the municipality has resulted in the land barons selling illegal stands to the desperate home-seekers in areas not meant for residential purposes.
Section 74 of the 2013 Constitution states that “No person may be evicted from their home, or have their home demolished, without an order of court made after considering all the relevant circumstances”.
Last year about 10 000 houses in Chitungwiza, which were constructed on undesignated land escaped demolitions following an agreement reached between one of the land barons Fredrick Mabamba and the cash-strapped council.