HRT fails to stop councils' budget

HARARE - A bid by a Harare residents’ group to block Harare City Council’s 2013 budget from approval hit a brick wall on Friday after the High Court dismissed their application.

Justice Martin Makonese dismissed an urgent chamber application filed by Harare Residents Trust (HRT) meant to stop operationalising council’s 2013 budget.

According to the residents group, council did not comply with provisions of the Urban Council’s Act which stipulates that the budget should be advertised in the press for public notices.

However, council advertised the budget in the state media on November 2, inviting objections from stakeholders before November 26.

In their application, HRT, represented by its director Precious Shumba, wanted the High Court to declare the advertisement insufficient to the residents.

“The notice is inadequate, it gives residents less than 30 days to object,” read Shumba’s affidavit. “Further the notice was only advertised in one newspaper instead of two.

Finally the notice was not posted at the offices of the city council for the prescribed period of 30 days.”

However, Justice Makonese ruled that the matter was not urgent.

He said HRT should have filed an urgent application immediately after noticing the anomaly.

According to HRT, represented by Happy Tsara from Tsara and Associates, the local authority gave its residents 24 days to object to the proposed budget instead of the stipulated 30 days.

Council argued that residents were aware of the budget as it was posted at all council polyclinics as well as council district offices.

Charles Kwaramba of Mbidzo, Muchadehama and Makoni legal practitioners successfully represented the local authority. - Xolisani Ncube

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