5 December 2012

Zimbabwe: Chiyangwa Stops Construction of Sewerage Ponds

BUSINESSMAN Philip Chiyangwa has obtained a High Court order barring a local housing co-operative from constructing large sewerage ponds on his Stoneridge Farm property in Harare. Justice Charles Hungwe stopped Hopley B Consortium Housing Co-operative from entering the remainder of Stoneridge Farm, which is owned by one of Mr Chiyangwa's companies Sensene Investments.

Sensene Investments is a subsidiary of Pinnacle Property Holdings. Hopley B Consortium Housing Co-operative got permission from Harare City Council to construct the ponds to cater for at least 1 000 families who live nearby, but did not seek the consent of the business mogul or his company.

Construction was underway when Sensene Investments filed an interdict application at the High Court.

Justice Hungwe ruled in favour of Sensene Investments after convincing arguments by the company's lawyer Advocate Thabani Mpofu.

"Pending the confirmation or discharge of the provisional order sought, the first respondent, its members, employees, agents or contractors or anyone acting in its name are hereby interdicted and prohibited from entering into, occupying, or carrying out any digging, laying or construction works on the applicant's property known as the Remainder of Stoneridge under deed of transfer 005428/2005.

"In the event of the first respondent, its members, employees, agents or contractors or anyone else acting in its name failing to comply with the terms of paragraph 1 of this order, the deputy sheriff is hereby directed and authorised to take any or all such steps as are necessary to eject them from the applicant's immovable property," read part of the order.

Kwenda and Associates law firm acted for the co-operative. The co-operative together with the Harare City Council was listed as respondents in the application.

In an affidavit deposed by Sensene Investments chief executive officer Mr John Mwinjilo, the firm received a letter from a company called SIMTC Private Limited informing the land owners of some construction work that had started on June 5 2012.

SIMTC wrote the letter on behalf of the housing cooperative the same day when the work started.

Sensene Investments said they were surprised to learn of the development at such a short notice and they immediately engaged SIMTC and the Harare Municipality to stop the works.

The company did that on the basis that the co-operative had not sought its consent to develop its private land.

Several meetings attended by council, Sensene and the co-operative resulted in the unlawful digging and entry into the private property being stopped until October 2012. In October, Sensene lodged a formal complaint with Harare City Council's director of Harare Water.

More meetings were held resulting in the parties agreeing to stop the construction pending an amicable solution.

Last month, the co-operative's contractors were back on the same land digging and constructing the sewerage ponds. The construction works being carried out on the land are of a large scale and Sensene feels they will definitely cause permanent damage to the land rendering it unsuitable for the development of residential stands.

In an opposing affidavit, the co-operative's chairman Mr Manatsa Chinhengo argued that the construction of the sewerage ponds was not illegal because it was approved by the local authority.

There was a council resolution to that effect. Mr Chinhengo said Sensene acquired Stoneridge subsequent to the approval of the sewerage ponds.

Sensene, according to the co-operative, acquired the property subject to existing servitudes.

Copyright © 2012 The Herald. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.