Chitungwiza Municipality has reversed its plan to demolish houses in St Mary’s, Zengeza, Seke, and Nyatsime after it was challenged to produce a court order empowering it to do so by human rights lawyers.
The municipality issued notices in local newspapers last week announcing that it will demolish houses that were purportedly built on illegal sites.
However, human rights lawyers asked the local authority to produce a court order granting it the right to destroy the homes.
“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 municipality said in response to a letter from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) who are representing Chitungwiza Residents Association.
The lawyers had written a letter on October 8 2020 advising the local authority the demolitions were illegal in the absence of a court order.
“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,” wrote the lawyers before demanding the local authority to produce the order or they would take legal action against it.