Harare ordered to stop Eyrestone demolitions

HARARE - Harare City Council (HCC) has been ordered to stop demolishing any more structures from Eyrestone Farm.

According to the order issued by High Court Judge Justice Edith Mushore, it argued that the demolitions were unlawful.

The interdict comes after Harare South Housing Apex Cooperative Society had approached the High Court seeking an order against demolition of the properties on the disputed land after 700 structures were razed down by council in October last year.

“Respondent be and is hereby interdicted from further demolitions of applicants members’ homes and evicting the applicant and its members from Eyrestone Farm, Harare pending finalisation of the claim under case number 1117/16.

“The respondent be and is hereby ordered to provide adequate restitution to the applicant for the destruction of its members’ homes, at a scale to be determined by an independent valuator chosen from High Court-certified estate agents,” read part of the order.

Mushore also ordered HCC to respect the standing partnership agreement between the cooperative and the ministry of Local Government which dated back to August 2012.

The order also advised HCC that it was liable to pay all the costs of the suit.

Last year, the cooperative sued the city for the demolitions arguing that the affected parties were not served with notices of the council’s intention to demolish.

In their suit, the cooperative — represented by their chairperson Tonderai Nkomo — argued that their occupation of the land was legal.

“Respondent’s actions carried out without a court order amount to self-help and taking the law into its own hands especially given that there is a pending matter before this court under case number HC11117/16 wherein the respondent is seeking eviction against everyone occupying Eyrestone Farm.”

“The land in question is suitable for residential purposes and applicant obtained all relevant approvals for the project, including approval from the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe,” Nkomo said.

When the demolitions were effected by council last year, HCC spokesperson Michael Chideme said the structures had to be removed because they were illegally built.

Chideme said council had the necessary paperwork to remove the illegal occupants as the land belonged to council and needed to be properly planned.

Council has over the years approached the High Court seeking eviction and demolition orders on illegal land occupants accusing them of failing to comply with the city’s by-laws and regulations.

Comments (1)

Unfortunately there is too much talk from this current Government as well, the way to go about this whole mess is by bringing to book all the land barons, instead of punishing these poor people twice. The investigating committee sworn in is just meant to put money in the pockets of the politically correct boys, the report will gather dust and that's Zimbabwe for us.

Sad - 2 February 2018

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