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Sunshine Development and HCC overcome bid to nullify stands

HARARE – Zimbabwe Homeless People’s Federation has lost its case against the Harare City Council, Sunshine Developments, Kenneth Sharpe and others where it was seeking cancellation of the Deeds of transfer of the land to Sunshine Development Private Limited, a Joint Venture company with the HCC done over 14 years ago.

Zimbabwe Homeless People’s Federation, knowledge Kwabana and Warship Dumba took the Harare City Council (HCC) to court last year alleging that their joint venture partner in a development project – Sunshine Development, had not followed due process.

The applicants wanted not only for the land transfer to be undone but also for the joint venture agreements to be cancelled and declared a nullity and had accused those who signed the agreement were not authorized and it also broke the investment and procurement laws.

However the application was dismissed by High Court judge, Justice David Mangota, who ruled that the agreement was a matter of public record.

The Respondents claimed that the claim was prescribed, and that the Applicants had no locus standi and that the application was riddled with material disputes of facts which were incapable of being resolved on the papers alone.

“The applicant which claims to have a keen interest in the affairs of good governance in Harare cannot suggest that it was unaware of the agreements which the parties signed in 2007 up until 2021 (14 years) when it filed the current application,” said the judge.

“Given its interest in the affairs of the City of Harare, the applicant cannot be said to have been unaware of the agreements from 2010 to 2021″.

In their assessment of all submissions, the courts established that Mr Dumba one of the applicants had been aware of the agreements because ‘he did the land audit and was Chariman of the special investigation committee from 2008 to 2013 which enquired into Harare city land sales and could not now say he didn’t know about agreements between 2010 to 2021’ which point Dumba admitted to.

Court showed that applicants didn’t have the right to sue because locus can’t come from simply being interested in something and must show a real relationship to the person they are suing. Simply put the applicants didn’t have locus or standing to sue for cancellation. The court further said the applicants didn’t have any rights to the land and ‘it is so far fetched it can’t hold’ , ‘it has no existing, future nor contingent right in that land’ and was ‘shooting in the dark’

“The applicant should have foreseen that its prejudice allegations would be seriously disputed and should have proceeded by way of action” Justice Mangota further said as he went on to assert that the federation cannot escape the sins of its own conduct.

“The Federation shall not be accorded a second bite of the cherry. Its case on the respondents stands on no leg. The application is in the result dismissed with costs,” ruled the judge.

Sunshine Development is a Joint Venture Company (JVC) with the objective of building middle income houses and a hotel at Mabelreign Golf Course, develop a commercial centre at Hopley and Mukuvisi.