IN: High Court of Zimbabwe orders
Chitungwiza Municipality to upgrade its water treatment plants and sewer
Court of Zimbabwe Justice Mangota on Thursday 17 December 2020 granted an order
in an application filed by Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association as an
Applicant for public interest purposes.
The order interdicts Chitungwiza Municipality from releasing sewer into
water bodies, water courses, streams, tributaries, or any part of the
environment. Further, the Municipality was compelled to, within three months of
the order, repair or otherwise upgrade its water treatment plants and sewer
systems to ensure proper treatment of effluent before discharge into the
environment and water bodies. The Environmental Management Agency was directed
to conduct compliance assessments within three months and submit a report to
the Registrar of the High Court.
through its Litigation Unit, filed a public interest case at the High court of
Zimbabwe for a structural interdict against Chitungwiza Municipality. The brief
facts of the case are that from as far as 2013, Chitungwiza Municipality has
been responsible for water pollution within its jurisdiction by causing the
discharge of untreated sewer into the water bodies that provide drinking water
to the area.
this case ZELA sought the following remedy
Municipality be interdicted from releasing untreated sewer into the water
bodies or any part of the environment.
Municipality to be ordered to upgrade and repair its water treatment plants and
sewer systems to ensure proper treatment of effluent before discharge into the
environment and water bodies within three months of receiving the order from
the High Court of Zimbabwe.
Management to monitor the progress and compliance and submit reports to the
registrar of the High court.
This case brings relief to Chitungwiza residents through claiming their fundamental human rights which include the right to clean and potable water (Section 77 of the Constitution) and right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being (Section 73 of the Constitution). The judgement creates a critical precedence in Zimbabwe on service delivery by local authorities. The High Court has taken a progressive approach in granting structural interdicts which ensure the progressive realisation of citizenship rights through periodic inspections and compliance reports to the Court. In this regard, the Environmental Management Agency has been ordered to, within three months of this order, conduct inspections to assess compliance with the Environmental Management Act, and having conducted such inspections, to immediately submit to the Registrar of the High Court, a report of such actions.
High Court order is indeed welcome.
the years ZELA, a public interest law organization that seeks to promote
environmental justice, sustainable and equitable use of natural resources,
democracy and good governance in the natural resources and environment sector
has immensely contributed to the attainment of environmental justice in
Zimbabwe. True to its vision and mission the organisation has improved the
lives of many communities through its various projects. In pursuit of its
mission, the public interest law organisation has employed several strategies
such as advocacy, research, lobbying, collaborations, community work and
organisation will stop at nothing in promoting the realisation of
environmental, socio-economic and cultural rights. Above all, the hope is that
it will increase access to justice and improve the rule of law in Zimbabwe.
“Environmental justice through sustainable and equitable
utilisation of natural resources and environmental protection”
Environmental Law Association
B Seke Road, Hatfield,Harare,Zimbabwe
Website : www.zela.org |Twitter: @ZELA_Infor | Facebook: Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association
Tel: +263 242 573
Toll free line-08080403