ZVISHAVANE – Zvishavane Town Council has paid US$70 000 to retrieve its assets attached by litigants whose properties the council wanted to demolish.
Council officials defaulted court hearings twice thereby losing the case and creating an unnecessary financial burden on the ratepayer. A lawyer described the local authority’s approach to the case as sloppy.
The local authority was sued by Isaiah Mudekwa, Sarafina Moyo, Bernard Ngoma, Anna Nyoni whose buildings at Mandava Industrial the council wanted demolished on allegations that they were illegal structures.
The four litigants insisted that their properties were not illegal and that they were allocated and issued with the relevant documents by the local authority itself.They engaged Tichaona Chivasa of Chivasa Legal Practitioners who made an urgent application for an interdict against ZTC. The local authority opposed the application but it defaulted on the hearing and court gave final interdict against council.
The council went on to file an application for recession in respect of the four records.
The respondents opposed the application and filed heads of arguments in terms of rules of court. A day before the hearing the council filed for notices of withdrawal but in terms of the law a matter cannot be withdrawn without the consent of the other part after it has been set down for hearing.
The respondent then asked for council to pay costs at the level of legal practitioner and client but council objected this as they wanted to pay at ordinary level.The court however granted the four the costs and this means it has to pay Mudekwa US$35 642,50; Moyo $15 885,50 and $16 672,50 for Ngoma and Nyoni bringing the total to US$84 873,50.
Council objected to this and appealed to the High Court but defaulted again and the decision stood.The respondents engaged the messenger of court who attached several council vehicles. The two parties agreed on a reduced amount of US$70 000 which was paid in instalments.
Chivasa said the local authority has finished paying the amount.