31 October 2014
KWEKWE provincial Magistrate Vimbai Mutukwa on Thursday 30 October 2014 ordered Redcliff Municipality to allow more than 400 Torwood residents to reoccupy their houses which they had been ejected from by the local authority's agents.
The residents were forcibly locked out of their houses on Wednesday 29 October 2014 by Redcliff municipal police officers who chucked them out of their houses which they had been in peaceful and undisturbed possession of over alleged non-payment of rates.
The 473 residents who included Serina Moyo, an 85 year-old woman were condemned to sleep in the open and exposed to harsh weather owing to the municipality's inhuman and degrading treatment.
The ill-treatment of the Torwood residents most of whom are employed by the state-run New Zim Steel which has not been paying wages and salaries for its workers prompted Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) to petition the Kwekwe Magistrates Court seeking an order to restore possession of the houses which they had been dispossessed of.
In the application, the Torwood residents' lawyer Reginald Chidawanyika argued that the municipality had no right to despoil the residents of their houses and that the local authority's actions were illegal, wrongful and unconstitutional as they had acted arbitrarily in evicting the residents without a court order to justify the lock out.
Magistrate Mutukwa on Thursday 30 October 2014 granted the order sought by the residents' lawyers and ordered Redcliff Municipality to allow the inhabitants to occupy their houses which they had been dispossessed of by the local authority's functionaries.