THE High Court has dismissed an appeal by Bulawayo MDC proportional representation MP, Ms Dorcas Sibanda who was challenging eviction from her rented house in Paddonhurst suburb, Bulawayo over US$1 800 rental arrears.
The rentals accumulated over a period of 11 months. The house from which Ms Sibanda was evicted belongs to former national police spokesperson Mr Wayne Bvudzijena.
Ms Sibanda was served with an eviction order in July 2018 by the Messenger of Court after Bulawayo magistrate Ms Adelaide Mbeure ruled in favour of Mr Bvudzijena under Case Number 2796/18.
Aggrieved by Ms Mbeure’s ruling, Ms Sibanda, through her lawyer Mr Thulani Ndlovu of Sansole and Senda Legal Practitioners, filed a notice of appeal at the Bulawayo High Court citing Mr Bvudzijena and the Messenger of Court as respondents.
Justice Martin Makonese, who was sitting with Justice Thompson Mabhikwa during the civil appeals court at the Bulawayo High Court, yesterday ruled that the appeal lacked merit.
“The appeal (against eviction) by the appellant is hereby dismissed in its entirety,” ruled Justice Makonese.
In her grounds of appeal, Ms Sibanda said the lower court erred by finding that she breached the deed of settlement.
She argued that the document did not include clauses allowing Mr Bvudzijena to evict her.
In her ruling, Ms Mbeure ordered Ms Sibanda to pay Mr Bvudzijena US$1 803,73 being rental arrears and operating costs for a period extending from April 2017 to March 2018.
The magistrate also ordered Ms Sibanda to pay her landlord holdover damages of US$14 per day calculated from April 1, 2018, to the date of eviction including his legal costs.
Ms Sibanda had been given up to July 2, 2018, to liquidate or settle the full debt failure of which Mr Bvudzijena was entitled to execute the judgment. The evictions were, however, blocked following Ms Sibanda’s appeal at the High Court.
In her heads of argument, Ms Sibanda said she advanced payment to Mr Bvudzijena as per agreement.
“However, the sums which the first respondent (Mr Bvudzijena) is claiming as remaining arrears were not in existence when the parties entered into a deed of settlement. It is the appellant’s contention that there is no court order which functions in perpetuity,” argued Ms Sibanda’s lawyers.
Mr Bvudzijena, through his lawyer Ms Martha Mazango of R Ndlovu and Company, said initially Ms Sibanda defended the matter before she later on successfully negotiated a settlement, which was reduced into a deed of settlement and subsequently confirmed as an order by consent entered on July 2 in 2018.
“It is clear from the court a quo’s ruling that after having found that appellant breached the deed of settlement and the consent order, the court made a finding that the first respondent was indeed entitled to instruct the Messenger of Court to attach and remove the appellant’s movable property and evict her,” said Ms Mazango.
According to court papers, in terms of the lease agreement signed between the two parties, Ms Sibanda was obliged to pay monthly rentals and operating costs to Mr Bvudzijena through his real estate agent, John Pocock Company on or before the 7th of each month.
However, Ms Sibanda failed or neglected to pay the rentals and operating costs timeously resulting in the arrears accumulating to US$1 803,73. Chronicle