Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Nyatsime invaders booted out

Nyatsime invaders booted out

Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter
A group of people, who invaded the Nyatsime area and unilaterally allocated themselves residential stands in 2013, will now vacate the land after the Constitutional Court threw out an application to legitimise their stay. The settlers, who identified themselves as members of the Nyatsime Housing Development, bought stands from council but they became impatient and forcibly took occupation of the unserviced and disputed land without the blessing of the municipality.

Council was still in the process of facilitating the transfer of Braemar and Longlands Farms from the Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement to the Local Government Ministry when the group occupied the farms.

The High Court in 2013 ordered the settlers off the land pending finalisation of the dispute, but they continued staying on the land on the strength of a Constitutional Court challenge.

In the Constitutional Court challenge, the group argued that their eviction from the farms was a violation of their right to shelter as enshrined in Section 28 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe among other breaches.

Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku sitting with eight other judges of the Constitutional Court on Wednesday, struck the matter off the roll because the settlers have not followed the correct procedure in filing the application.

It was the court’s finding that the group had jumped the gun considering that there was a pending application for condonation at the High Court in respect of the same parties and the same dispute.

“The matter is hereby struck off the roll and wasted costs are awarded to all applicants,” ruled the Chief Justice.

An attempt by the settlers’ lawyer Mr Denford Halimani to withdraw the case to avoid the dismissal of the case and embarrassment, failed as the judges noted that the matter was wrongly before the Constitutional Court.

Chitungwiza Municipality was being represented by Advocate Regina Bwanali and Mr Rodgers Matsikidze of Matsikidze and Mucheche Legal Practitioners. Adv Bwanali told the court that the group had filed an appeal to the Constitutional Court disguising it as a constitutional application.

She submitted that the group should have followed the legal procedure allowing them to approach the Constitutional Court.

The settlers argued that council was precluded from evicting them unless it first provided them with alternative shelter pending the finalisation of the land dispute. Failure to provide alternative shelter, the group argued, was a violation of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

They also argued that their eviction was discriminatory in nature, thereby infringing Section 56 of the supreme law.


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