Monday 29 April 2024


Two members of a housing cooperative found themselves homeless after the High Court ordered them to vacate from the piece of land allocated to them because the land belongs to a company which is leasing the property from the State.

Mr Willard Rufu and Mr Samson Mutsagondo had already built their houses on the residential stands allocated to them by their cooperative Tirivepano Housing Cooperative in Retreat, Southlea Park.

The two are now facing eviction and demolition of their houses after Brumford Services (Pvt) Ltd, which is the holder of a lease agreement with the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works in respect of Stand number 5098 Saturday Retreat, Harare, after the company instituted eviction at the High Court claiming that the two men who are members of the housing cooperative invaded the property and built their structures without permission.

It applied for a summary judgment arguing that the two men had no bona fide defence to its claim.

The company premised its application on the basis that it has title to the property based on a lease agreement it signed with the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works on March 31, 2020.

The lease agreement, it argued, was still extant, and the company continues to pay monthly rentals for the property to the State.

The property was zoned as industrial land and that position was made clear in a letter dated August 31, 2022 from the then Minister of Local Government and Public Works.

It was also argued that the two had no legal documentation that gave them the right to occupy the property and the Ministry had not backed up their claims to be lawful allottees of the property.

But in their counter-argument Mr Rufu and Mr Mutsagondo claimed ownership of the property through their cooperative that was allocated that same piece of land in 2005.

They claimed to have been in possession of that property since 2005 and were not aware that it had been converted to industrial use as alleged by Brumford.

That conversion of land use, the two argued, was an illegality at law since it was done without their knowledge.

They further argued that their right to stay on the property was premised on an offer letter issued to the housing cooperative, and they could not be evicted from the property because they had a clear right to be in occupation.

After hearing submissions by counsel Justice Paul Musithu granted the application for summary judgment by Brumford, finding that it had proved its claim against the two.

“Resultantly it is ordered that the first and second respondents and all those claiming occupation through the third respondent be and are hereby ordered to vacate Stand 5098 Saturday Retreat, Southlea Park, Harare.

“The Sheriff of Zimbabwe be and is hereby authorised and empowered to demolish any illegal structures erected on Stand 5098 Saturday Retreat, Southlea Park, Harare,” said Justice Musithu.

The two men and their cooperative were also slapped with costs of suit.

In his judgment, Justice Musithu noted that it was clear from the documentary evidence before the court that Brumford was allocated the property in dispute through a lease agreement signed with the Ministry.

The court found that Rufu, Mutsagondo and their cooperative papers were not specific to the property that they were allocated.

“The basis of their claim to the property in dispute is rather obscure,” he said.

“No connection to the property has been set out in the papers. Nothing was placed before the court to justify any claim or entitlement to the property by any of the three respondents.”

To this end, the judge ruled that the respondents had no legal basis to occupy the property in dispute and accepted the submission by Brumford’s lawyer that it would be a waste of time for the matter to go through all the motions of a trial when there is clearly no plausible defence on the merits. Herald



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