High Court blocks vendors’ eviction

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\n HARARE – The High Court yesterday issued an injunction blocking the eviction of vendors from the Harare Central Business District (CBD).

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\n It also barred the Harare City Council (HCC) from demolishing the vendors’ stalls.

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\n The injunction was issued in response to a petition filed to the High Court seeking to block the demolitions ordered by the HCC after an inter-ministerial taskforce led by the Health ministry banned vending of all uncooked and cooked foods following a typhoid outbreak that has so far claimed two lives.

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\n High Court judge David Mangota granted the order in chambers.

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\n “Respondents have been interdicted from initiating or proceeding with the demolition of vending stalls, destruction of property and eviction of first applicant (Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation(Viset)’s members from areas they are operating from,” the vendors’ attorney, Tonderai Bhatasara, said yesterday.

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\n Viset was the first applicant while Olivia Nhau was the second.

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\n The City of Harare was cited as the first respondent while Local Government minister, Saviour Kasukuwere, and police commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri were cited as second and third respondents respectively.

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\n Bhatasara had sought an order to stop arbitrary demolitions of vending stalls and confiscation of their wares as well as assault of vendors who will be resisting the clampdown on vending.

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\n He argued that the ban violated many provisions of the Constitution, such as Section 74 which stipulates that no one can be evicted from his/her property without a court order.

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\n According to Bhatasara, the manner in which the evictions were being carried out was inhuman and degrading and often violent.

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\n He said HCC has even involved the riot police who often carry out their duties in a callous and chaotic manner.

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\n “The enforcement does not care whether it is an elderly woman selling her wares or a disabled person, they are just chasing and beating people,” Bhatasara said.

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\n The advocate added that while typhoid is a disease that thrives in unhygienic environments, councillors were turning a blind eye on the mounds of uncollected garbage in the city.

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\n He said coupled with the incessant rains and blocked drains, garbage has become the perfect breeding ground for waterborne diseases.

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\n Bhatasara highlighted that without proper functioning public toilets and adequate water supply, people were forced to relieve themselves in alleys and behind garbage piles.

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