Residents give Muguti 48-hour ultimatum to withdraw demolition threats

AGGRIEVED residents of Arlington Estates in Harare have given a 48-hour ultimatum to Tafadzwa Muguti, the Harare Metropolitan Province Secretary for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, demanding that he should assure them that he is not going to proceed with demolishing their residential properties.

Tafadzwa Muguti

In an article published in the state-run The Herald newspaper on
Tuesday 25 January 2022, titled “Arlington, Retreat properties face
demolition, warns Muguti, the Harare Metropolitan Province Secretary
for Provincial Affairs and Devolution was extensively quoted stating
that all houses and developments built in an area around Robert Mugabe
International Airport including Arlington Estate and Retreat suburb
face demolition.

Muguti said the developments in the areas were within a so-called red
zone which affects the operations of the airport and should therefore
be demolished and were also done in violation of the Civil Aviation
Act and the Airports Company of Zimbabwe Act. He further indicated
that government was going to approach the courts to obtain a
demolition order authorising it to conduct the exercise.

But in a letter written to Muguti on Tuesday 25 January 2022,
Arlington Estates Homeowners Association, represented by Tinashe
Chinopfukutwa of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights challenged Muguti’s
claims and indicated that the development of properties in Arlington
Estate by residents was done in accordance with the law and all the
necessary approvals and inspections were done and approved by the
Local Planning Authority which is the City of Harare and the residents
obtained Title Deeds for their properties.

The Arlington residents said their houses are private properties
protected from compulsory deprivation through demolition or otherwise
and hence no person may be compulsorily deprived of their property as
the planned demolitions constitute a violation of property rights
guaranteed in Section 71 of the Constitution.

The residents’ letter was also delivered to City of Harare, Local
Government Minister and Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe.

The residents advised Muguti that there is a pending court order
against him, the City of Harare and other local authorities issued
under HC2857/21 which prohibits him from carrying out any demolitions
unless he follows due process and complies with the principles of
natural justice as provided for in terms of the Administrative Justice

They accused Muguti of acting in blatant disregard of the existing
court order to which human rights lawyers in a separate matter have
since applied to the High Court seeking an order for the Harare
Metropolitan Province Secretary for Provincial Affairs and Devolution
to be declared to be in contempt of court.

The residents said failure to receive an undertaking stopping the
planned demolitions of housing properties from Muguti, they will
approach the High Court for redress.

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