Court postpones Chitungwiza demolitions

Demolitions in Chitungwiza will have to wait for another day after the dormitory town’s courts on Thursday gave affected residents reprieve until February 27.

The demolitions, which commenced more than a week ago but were halted when residents protested, should have resumed last Tuesday.

Zimbabwe Human Rights Lawyer, Marufu Mandevere, confirmed the development to The Zimbabwean.

“The temporary relief means that, on February 27, we will be going back to argue in court. We are saying that the demolitions are illegal because there is no court order authorising them.

“Section 74 of the Constitution says that no demolitions should take place unless they are authorised by the courts and we are saying that the Chitungwiza Municipality should get a court order first,” said Mandevere.

Chitungwiza Progressive Residents Association Director, Admire Zaya, welcomed the reprieve from the High Court.

“We are happy that we have been given this reprieve. However, there is need for concerted efforts from residents associations in Chitungwiza to ensure that we stop the demolitions totally,” said Zaya.

About 8, 260 houses in Chitungwiza face demolition as the stands on which they were built were said to be illegal by the Ministry of Local Government.

In Seke rural 6, 200 could be destroyed as some they were also built without authorisation.

Meanwhile, Zaya’s Chipra has requested that the salary schedule of the municipality’ top management be made public.

The move follows recent revelations at the Harare City Council that salaries and allowances for Town Clerk, Tendai Mahachi and his team of managers gobbled more than half a million dollars monthly against poor service delivery and a liquidity crunch.

Zaya, told The Zimbabwean that the request had been handed over to HCC authorities and his organisation was expecting a response within seven days.

“We are demanding that Chitungwiza Town Council provides information on the ratio of spending on administration against the local authority’s expenditure on service delivery,” said Zaya.

“We stand in solidarity with the people of Harare in their fight against organised looting and abuse of council funds and we want to do a postmortem of Chitungwiza as a way of doing away with the rot that has prevailed in most local authorities,” said Zaya.

He accused municipal officials of fraud, abuse of council funds and engaging in shoddy land deals, which had exposed residents to the demolitions.

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