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Chitungwiza ignores urgent court application and demolishes traders’ property

By Nyashadzashe Ndoro | Nehanda Courts |

The Chitungwiza Municipality proceeded to demolish informal traders’ property despite the fact that the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) had on Friday filed an urgent application on behalf of the Chitungwiza Residents Trust which was yet to be determined by the High Court.

The demolitions started in St Mary's and spread to other parts of Chitungwiza.
The demolitions started in St Mary’s and spread to other parts of Chitungwiza.

This comes after Harare Provincial Development coordinator Tafadzwa Muguti ordered the ongoing demolition of hundreds of informal traders’ shacks and shelters built on road verges and the sides of the road in Harare Metropolitan province accusing them of failing to heed a three-day ultimatum.

Yesterday, the municipal police officers from Harare, Chitungwiza and Ruwa led the demolitions while the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) stood by watching closely to deter any violence. Today, they were along Chaminuka Road destroying illegal structures.

In a statement, ZLHR expressed concern over demolitions when it had filed an urgent application.

“We are greatly concerned that Chitungwiza Municipality has proceeded to demolish informal traders’ property despite that an urgent application filed on Friday by ZLHR on behalf of Chitungwiza Residents Trust is yet to be determined before the High Court,” said the ZLHR.

Muguti last Friday ordered: “We hereby inform all occupants of road servitudes that they have until Sunday June 7, 2021, to vacate and remove all their property and vehicles, and destroy any infrastructure erected on road servitudes.”

In its urgent application on behalf of Chitungwiza Residents Trust and Alice Kuvheya to be heard before Justice Edith Mushore, ZLHR said some of the occupants of the said illegal structures had permits to operate and they were paying taxes.

“As conceded by the respondent the informal traders have permits allowing them to carry on their operations. These permits are valid and have not been nullified by a court of law. Applicants are entitled protection of the law.

“In addition, even if the Respondents were entitled to carry out these evictions, a point not conceded, the notice period given is unreasonable, unfair and unlawful,” read the court papers.

“The Applicants also face a threat of loss of life as respondents have clearly premeditated to apply devastating force during the joint operation and have outlined the services of the police.”

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