Chitown halts demolitions

CHITUNGWIZA Town Council (CTC) has shelved its plans to demolish illegal structures following the intervention of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR).

Last week, the town council gave residents 48 hours to destroy illegal structures at the Town Centre.

 “Notice is hereby given that it has come to the attention of Council that at Town Centre Unit D Shopping Centre illegal structures (buildings and pre-cast walls) are in the process of being put up or have already been put up without council approval,” wrote CTC.

 “Therefore, take note that in terms of section 35 of the Regional, Town and Country Planning Act (Chapter 29:12) you are ordered to demolish any structures and remove all the rubble from the land, restoring the land to its original state.

 “This order comes into operation within 48 hours and the demolitions and action outlined herein should be completed by January 2, 2022. All those buildings and pre-cast walls without adequate council papers and inspections will risk their structures being demolished. You are further advised that failure to comply with this order within the prescribed period will render council to proceed and effect the demolitions at the expense of the owner.”

However, after the intervention of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) which argued that the demolitions were not consistent with the town’s by-laws, the council has now suspended the exercise.

Yesterday, ZLHR took to social media to announce Chitungwiza’s decision to shelve the demolitions.

 “A significant victory in the new year, Chitungwiza municipality has withdrawn a demolition order which it issued on December 30, 2021 and advised us that no demolitions shall be executed in compliance with it,” ZLHR said.

 “In a letter written to ZLHR on January 3, 2022 Chitungwiza said demolition of illegal structures shall be executed subject to the provisions of the Constitution and the Regional Town and Country Planning Act.”