A BID by members of the Norton Development Association (NDA) to stop Norton Town Council (NTC) from demolishing their illegal structures has failed after High Court judge, Justice Edith Mushore dismissed their urgent application for a prohibitory interdict.
Justice Mushore said the matter was not urgent at all. In the application, the association had cited Norton Town Council, Local Government minister July Moyo, Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs minister Mary Mliswa and Norton police officer-in-charge as respondents.
“This is an urgent chamber application for an order compelling first respondent (NTC) to suspend the unlawful and arbitrary eviction and demolition of structures in Norton town until it provides suitable and adequate alternative place from which the affected operators can operate from,” Tonderai Chigodora, the association’s chairperson said in his founding affidavit.
He said for over two years, Norton residents have been operating businesses from various sites under the authority of the council.
“The residents have been paying permit fees remitted by the operators to the first respondent. I attach here a sample of the receipts of permit fees by the respective operators to the first respondent,” he said.
According to the court papers, the NDA claimed that the council was demolishing the structures under the guise of cleaning up Norton.
Chigodora also said the council held a meeting on March 12, 2019 with various stakeholders to tell them that it intended to evict and demolish business structures that are illegal.
“The meeting was not a consultative one. It was merely a platform on which the council noted its intention to demolish what it termed ‘illegal structures’ throughout Norton as a joint operation with Zimbabwe Republic Police and Manyame district,” he said, further noting that the council did not provide alternatives for the affected residents.