Chitungwiza Municipality has announced that it will no longer be implementing the demolition order which had announced that illegal structures in Seke, St Mary’s and Zengeza were to be demolished.
The u-turn is made after the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) who are representing Chitungwiza Residents Association wrote to the municipality demanding the local authority to produce a court order granting it the right to destroy the homes or they would take legal action against it. ZLHR had written:
May we kindly remind you that Section 7 of the Constitution provides that no person may be evicted or removed or have their home demolished without an order made of court. After considering that all the relevant circumstances your purported order is not in terms of the Constitution and is in violation of the Constitution
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Chitungwiza municipality responded to ZLHR letter announcing the suspension of the demolition order. The local government authority said:
Please be advised that council in its special full council meeting held on October 9 2020 resolved to put the demolition exercise in abeyance hence the demolitions will no longer be affected as per the cited order.
The order had attracted criticism from observers across all walks of life with the former Minister of Energy Advocate Fortune Chasi saying the timing was off while the local government authority was also to blame for the erection of the structures.
He argued that the municipality watched as the structures mushroomed, collected rates from the owners, instead of stopping them in time.
In some cases, the government regularised illegal structures in an endeavour to protect “innocent” owners who could have been duped by unscrupulous council officials and land barons.
More: New Zimbabwe