Airport houses demolition illegal: Court

HARARE - The High Court has castigated the Harare City Council (HCC) for demolishing houses along the Airport Road without first securing a court order.

This followed an application filed by two residents; Jean Pierre Dusabe and John Peter Mutokambali, who were left homeless.

In the application, the residents cited HCC, Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere and Lands minister Douglas Mombeshora as respondents.

High Court judge Priscilla Chigumba said that the demolitions were illegal.

“It is a disgrace for two government departments to admit that houses which had been built without the requisite planning authority were demolished and razed to the ground without a court order, without notice in writing being given to all those likely to be affected," the judge said in a scathing ruling.

“The process was not procedurally fair.”

She said that government departments were not at liberty to unilaterally and arbitrarily demolish any structures in the absence of a court order even if the structures were an eyesore or were without building plans.

“This is a democratic society in which such conduct, especially on the part of government departments whose operations are funded by taxpayers’ money, is not justifiable,” Chigumba said.

The residents told the court that they were left destitute after their homes and property worth several thousands of dollars were destroyed.

Chigumba said the residents, members of Nyikavanhu Housing Cooperative, were not entitled to compensation because the land was illegally sold to them.

She said the problem was caused by the cooperative, which accepted money from the residents against its mandate and permission from the responsible authority to do so.

“The culture of impunity that has pervaded and corroded our government departments should be roundly condemned.

“As a mark of its displeasure at the unlawful conduct of the first and second respondents, a punitive order as to costs will be made against them to discourage such blatant disregard of the law in future,” she said.Airport houses demolition
illegal: CourtTendai Kamhungira
DEPUTY CHIEF WRITER
kamhungirat@dailynews.co.zw

THE High Court has castigated the Harare City Council (HCC) for demolishing houses along the Airport Road without first securing a court order.

This followed an application filed by two residents; Jean Pierre Dusabe and John Peter Mutokambali, who were left homeless.

In the application, the residents cited HCC, Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere and Lands minister Douglas Mombeshora as respondents.

High Court judge Priscilla Chigumba said that the demolitions were illegal.

“It is a disgrace for two government departments to admit that houses which had been built without the requisite planning authority were demolished and razed to the ground without a court order, without notice in writing being given to all those likely to be affected," the judge said in a scathing ruling.

“The process was not procedurally fair.”

She said that government departments were not at liberty to unilaterally and arbitrarily demolish any structures in the absence of a court order even if the structures were an eyesore or were without building plans.

“This is a democratic society in which such conduct, especially on the part of government departments whose operations are funded by taxpayers’ money, is not justifiable,” Chigumba said.

The residents told the court that they were left destitute after their homes and property worth several thousands of dollars were destroyed.

Chigumba said the residents, members of Nyikavanhu Housing Cooperative, were not entitled to compensation because the land was illegally sold to them.

She said the problem was caused by the cooperative, which accepted money from the residents against its mandate and permission from the responsible authority to do so.

“The culture of impunity that has pervaded and corroded our government departments should be roundly condemned.

“As a mark of its displeasure at the unlawful conduct of the first and second respondents, a punitive order as to costs will be made against them to discourage such blatant disregard of the law in future,” she said.

Comments (1)

Gov would not demolition house out compensation poor plan

Gismala John - 16 February 2016

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