Norton council, residents clash over stands

HARARE - Thirteen residents have filed a High Court application against Norton Town Council, claiming the local authority failed to allocate them residential stands they paid for.

Melody Sikwata and 12 others, who are represented by Rumbidzai Gasa from Gasa, Nyamadzawo and Associates Legal Practitioners, filed an application against the council and its administration officer Obert Masunga, claiming the authorities had reneged from the sale agreement.

According to court papers, the residents paid their money between 2011 and 2013, before filling in accommodation forms, through the assistance of Masunga.

They are now demanding $5 000 each, which they claim to be the current price of a high density residential stand in Norton.

“The purchase price was also paid to the 1st defendant’s (Norton Town Council) office and plaintiff were issued with 1st defendant’s receipts, acknowledgement of receipt with 1st defendant’s stamp and some plaintiffs received correspondence on 1st defendant’s letter heads acknowledging receipt of payment of purchase price,” the residents said.

Indications are that the residents paid between $1 500 and $3 000, depending on the size of the stand.
The court heard that the residents received letters confirming that their applications were successful and they would be allocated stands on specified dates.

On the dates they were supposed to be allocated the stands, the residents would receive letters from the council, advising them that the allocation had been postponed for various reasons.

“The 1st defendant has failed to allocate the plaintiffs their duly purchased stands up to this day despite several undertakings to allocate the stands by particular dates,” the residents said.

According to Gasa, when the residents approached the council for assistance, they were referred to Masunga who has since resigned.

Gasa said Masunga was asked to resign as an attempt by the council to evade the claim.

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