Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Court Reporter
FOUR Gwanda residents who are beneficiaries of residential stands under the Government funded Hlalani Kuhle housing scheme have taken Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo and Gwanda Municipality to court challenging the repossession of their properties without compensation.
Thembinkosi Nkomo, Martin Ncube, Acknowledge Moyo and Nobukhosi Matekesa were allocated the residential stands under the Hlalani Kuhle housing project.
They said despite having built structures on the stands with the blessing of council, the local authority has written letters instructing them to stop developing the stands on the basis that the properties were unprocedurally allocated.
The four plaintiffs, through their lawyers R Ndlovu and Company, filed summons at the Bulawayo High Court citing Gwanda Municipality and Minister Moyo as respondents.
They want an order nullifying council’s decision to repossess their stands without compensation for the developments and improvements they made.
In papers before the court, the quartet said it met all council requirements and paid the requisite fees prior to developing the stands.
“During the period between April 2017 and April 2018, it came to our knowledge that the first defendant (Gwanda Municipality) was re-allocating residential stands repossessed under the Hlalani Kuhle housing scheme, a project initiated by the second defendant (Minister of Local Government and Public Works),” said the applicants.
Nkomo, Ncube, Moyo and Matekesa said when they approached the council over the issue, they were advised to comply with the formalities.
The four residents said they were shocked when council officials ordered them to halt construction in November 2018 alleging that the stands were unprocedurally allocated to them. Council said the resolution to repossess the stands was adopted by councillors during a full council meeting.
“At the time the council resolved to repossess the stands from the plaintiffs, they were aware that the four residents had done improvements on their respective stands as per approved house plans. Despite that knowledge, council resolved to purportedly repossess the stands without compensation for the improvements,” said the lawyers.
The four plaintiffs said the decision by Gwanda Municipality to repossess the stands without compensation was unjust and substantively unfair and want the court to set it aside.
“It will be just and equitable to direct the defendants to reconsider afresh the circumstances of the plaintiffs and the residential stands allocated to them and arrive at an appropriate resolution,” said the lawyers.