Harare City Council win Sunshine Development land deal case 

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By Mary Taruvinga 

Zimbabwe Homeless People’s Federation (The federation) has lost a court case where it was seeking cancellation of the Deeds of transfers of the land to Sunshine Development Private Limited.

The federation took Harare City Council (HCC) to court last year, alleging that Sunshine Development had not paid anything towards the land.

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

“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 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.”

The courts established that the applicants were aware of the agreements during the period which extends from 2010 to 2021.

“The applicant does not explain why they did not apply or sue for more than three years which is reckoned from 2010 requires little, if any debate”, said Mangota.

Mangota said HCC cannot be faulted when they insist that the claim of the applicant is prescribed.

“Such issues as related to the alleged misconduct of the respondents cannot be resolved on the papers” , he further said.

“For instance, whilst the applicant alleges that the transaction which brought about the agreements is prejudicial to the public, the first respondent, HCC states in the same breadth that the same is beneficial to the public.

“I cannot under the stated set of circumstances, sing with the applicant or with the first respondent. Similarly, whether or not Sunshine Development was unjustly enriched is a factual matter which the applicant alleges and the respondents deny.

“The applicant should have foreseen that its prejudice allegations would be seriously disputed and should have proceeded by way of action.

“The federation cannot escape the sins of its own conduct. It shall not be accorded a second bite of the cherry. Its case on the respondents stands on no leg. Sunshine Development proved their three preliminary issues on a balance of probabilities. The application is in the result dismissed with costs,” ruled the judge.

The applicants who lost the case include the Federation, Knowledge Kwambana, and Warship Dumba.

Court papers show that on June 22, 2007, Harare City Council represented by former Town Clerk Tendai Mahachi and the chairperson of the Commission that was then running the local authority, Sekesai Makwavarara entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the land developers.

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