Victory for Vendors as Court Orders Chinhoyi Municipality to Repair Damaged Vending Stall and Stop Demolitions

HIGH Court Judge Justice Jacob Manzunzu on Monday 11 May, 2020 ordered Chinhoyi Municipality to stop demolishing vending stalls and repair a shade which was damaged by its employees as they pulled down structures owned by some informal traders.

Justice Manzunzu granted the order to stop the demolition of any vending stalls and property belonging to small and medium enterprises as well as informal vendors at Gadzema Flea Market in Chinhoyi after some informal traders represented by Kudzai Choga and Obey Shava of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights filed an urgent chamber application on 6 May 2020 seeking an order to stop the local authority from demolishing their vending stalls and wares.

In the application, the informal traders, who include Tafadzwa Marimo, Emmanuel Ngwaru, Richard Svosve, Pepukayi Marega and Devis Shopo, who operate from Gadzema Flea Market in Chinhoyi in Mashonaland West province and have been paying fees and levies to the local authority, argued that the demolition of their vending stalls amounts to compulsory deprivation of property in violation of the fundamental rights to property enshrined in section 71 of the Constitution.

Justice Manzunzu also ordered Chinhoyi Municipality to renovate Shade Number Two at Gadzema Flea Market, which had been damaged by some municipal police officers who had pulled it down last week.

The Judge stated that in the event that Chinhoyi Municipality wished to carry out renovations of some vending stalls at Gadzema Flea Market, it should comply with the provisions of section 32 of the Regional, Town and Country Planning Act as read with section 199(2)(c) of the Urban Councils Act. The provisions require proper notice of any proposed demolition of illegal structure to be given to the owner of such a structure and for an appeal against the notice to be filed with the Administrative Court within 28 days, during which period no action may be taken on the basis of the notice until the appeal is either determined or abandoned.

Source: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)

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