By Correspondent

Facing imminent demolition of their houses some Chitungwiza residents have taken to the High Court seeking a determination of the legality of the law being used.

The demolition order was issued by Chitungwiza Municipality acting in terms of provisions of section 32 and 37 of the Regional, Town and Country Planning Act.

However, Chitungwiza Residents Trust (Chitrest) said sections of the Regional, Town and Country Planning Act are contrary to the Constitution and should be repealed.

“We are seeking a lasting solution to the recurring problem of arbitrary demolitions in Zimbabwe.

The stated provisions permit local authorities in Zimbabwe to demolish houses or dwelling places without obtaining a court order.

However, the Constitution requires that in the case of demolitions there is need for a court order.

The application by the residents follows a demolition order issued by Chitungwiza Municipality on 8 October 2020.

The local authority indicated that some houses situated in areas of St Mary’s, Zengeza, Seke and Nyatsime suburbs in Chitungwiza have to be demolished.

According to Council the houses were constructed without the local authority’s approval.

The Legal Argument

Chitrest lawyers Tinashe Chinopfukutwa and Paida Saurombe want the High Court to issue an order impugning section 32(2)(c) & (d) as well as section 37(1)(a)(i) of the Regional, Town & Country Planning Act.

They argue that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land and any law which is inconsistent with it is invalid to the extent of the inconsistency.

They also want the demolition order issued by Chitungwiza Municipality on 8 October 2020 to be declared to be invalid.

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