BY CHARLES LAITON
More than 250 families at six housing co-operatives in Crowborough Farm, Harare, are set to lose their properties after their executive members colluded with the City of Harare and obtained a High Court order authorising their eviction and demolition of houses.
Two hundred and twenty-nine members of some of the co-operatives have since approached the High Court seeking a stay of execution after getting wind of the impending eviction and demolition through ward 38 councillor, who apparently had been advised of the predicament about to befall them.
The affected housing co-operatives are cited in court papers as Igarwe, Tatakura, Nyabira, Pastors, Vanhuvatema and Ideal Homes. A member of Igarwe Housing Co-operative, Brian Muzembe, who deposed to an affidavit which has been filed alongside the urgent chamber application, said he was shocked when he received the news from ward 38 councillor since the executive members of all the co-operatives had not alerted their members of what they had agreed with the City of Harare.
He said he, together with 228 others, bought the stands in 2014 and were encouraged to put up structures while waiting for the regularisation of their properties.
“I am still an occupant of the stand. In fact, the stand has been my home for the past six years and I have been religiously paying the required subscriptions for the stand hoping that, as promised by the co-operative executive, one day, the stands will be regularised,” Muzembe said.
“I am still in shock to learn that the co-operative executives went on to consent to the ejection and demolition order of our homes without making consultations with the applicants (229 members) since the applicants are the most affected parties.
It should be put on record that the co-operative executives are not affected by the order because they do not stay in the area in question, hence their decision to consent to the order. It is surprising how they took this matter for granted considering the effects of the consent order on the innocent families whom they duped on the pretext that the stands will be regularised.”
He said it had been suggested that the basis for the City of Harare’s actions was that the stands were pegged illegally on council land and that the occupants had erected structures on top of water pipes.
“This is denied. Out of the more than 250 houses, only 10 were built on top of the council’s water pipes. It is important to highlight that all the houses which were built on top of the council’s water pipes have been removed by the owners of the stands and, as we speak, there are no houses which are on top of council’s water pipes,” Muzembe said.
The matter is pending.