High Court stops bus terminus construction

HARARE - High Court judge Felistas Chatukuta has interdicted the Harare City Council from constructing a bus terminus opposite Rhodesville Police Station in Harare following an objection lodged by Hillside and Eastlea residents.

The applicant was Munyaradzi Mutsai and 19 others, while the respondent was the City of Harare, Local Government minister July Moyo, Tourism minister Prisca Mupfumira, Environment Management Agency (Ema), Water Resources Development and Climate minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri and the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa).

The applicants were represented by Lewis Uriri from The Temple Bar, Zimbabwe Inns of Court, who was instructed by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

According to court papers, the City of Harare had commenced the construction of a bus terminus and a people’s market on an open area called Rhodesville Holding Bay.

“Aggrieved by the construction of the Holding Bay in their neighbourhood, the applicants have approached this court on a certificate of urgency seeking an order for the suspension of the construction pending the determination of the legality of the project,” Chatukuta noted.

The court heard that one of the residents noticed the construction of the bay on October, 9, 2017 and made enquiries with the City of Harare, which said the project was aimed at decongesting the bus terminus in the Central Business District (CBD).

The applicants came together as a community, concerned that the first respondent (City of Harare) was transferring the congestion and all the ills from the CBD into their neighbourhood, the court heard.

The residents later had a meeting with the City of Harare, where they raised concerns that the construction of the bay in their area would result in road traffic congestion, rise in crime, and destruction of the ecosystem, general health hazards, noise pollution and devaluation of properties.

According to court papers, the construction continued despite the meeting between the parties, which resulted in the residents filing the court application.

The residents argued in court papers that they have a right to fair and reasonable administrative justice in terms of Section 68 of the Constitution and Section 3 of the Administrative Justice Act.

They also said that they have a right to an environment that is not harmful to health and well-being, adding that they also have a right to safe, clean and potable water.

However, the City of Harare opposed the application, arguing that when it came up with the project, it had put into considerations the residents’ rights, adding that it cannot abandon the project now after heavily investing in it.

Chatukuta said if the interdict was to be denied, the project would continue under circumstances where it could eventually be found to be unlawful.

“The damage to the ecosystem could be colossal and irreversible. In the absence of any scientific certainty that the Holding Bay is not being constructed on a wetland, and the absence of cogent environmental impact assessment research or plan, it is prudent to err on the side of caution by granting the provisional order.

“In the result, it is accordingly ordered that: the provisional order be and is hereby granted with the interim order in the following terms: pending the determination of this matter, the first respondent be and is hereby interdicted from continuing with all the construction work on the Rhodesville Holding Bay, at Coronation Park, opposite Rhodesville Police Station off Robert Mugabe Road, Harare, being the proposed bus terminus and people’s market,” Chatukuta said.

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.