THE TRUSTEES OF THE LEONARD CHESHIRE HOMES ZIMBABWE CENTRAL TRUST
ROBERT CHIITE & 7 ORS
SUPREME COURT OF ZIMBABWE
MALABA DCJ, GARWE JA & MAVANGIRA AJA
HARARE, FEBRUARY 9, 2015
T Magwaliba, for the appellant
T Mpofu, for the respondent
MALABA DCJ: On the day of the hearing we allowed the appeal with costs and indicated that reasons for the decision were to be availed in due course. These are they.
This is an appeal against the High Court decision dismissing a claim for an order of eviction of the respondents by the appellant (hereinafter referred to as the Trust), from the premises commonly known as 85 Baines Avenue, Harare. The facts of the matter are as follows.
The Leonard Cheshire Home Zimbabwe Central Trust was established on 3 April 1981, by a Deed of Trust for the purposes of raising funds and to provide means for the care and rehabilitation of permanently physically impaired people. The affairs of the Trust are administered by six Trustees who are appointed in terms of clause 5 of the Trust Deed for a period of 5 years. In pursuance of the objectives of the Trust, the Trustees established a number of Homes within Harare, one of which is the Masterson Home which is located at No. 85 Baines Avenue, Harare.
The policy of the Trustees has been to admit into the Masterson Home a specific number of inmates at a given time, rehabilitate them and release them for integration into the community. Many permanently physically impaired persons have been rehabilitated by the Trust and have found settlement in the public thereafter without any problem.
At a meeting held on 12 March 1998 the Trustees decided that consideration be given to having the Masterson Home (“the Home”) closed because it had become difficult to run the institution on the stringent budget available. On 30 November 1999 a firm decision was taken by the Trustees that the Home be closed. The proposal was that the property would be sold and part of the proceeds used to help the respondents (hereinafter referred to as Beneficiaries) to start their own income generating projects in the communities into which they would be integrated. It was also decided that those who were not ready for integration would be transferred to a home in Kambuzuma, Harare.
Pursuant to the decision of the Trustees to sell the Home, an assessment of the inmates was carried out in order to determine the needs that were peculiar to each of them. The purpose of the assessment of each beneficiary’s needs was to ensure that the programme envisaged did not adversely prejudice the beneficiaries. The assessment exercise was undertaken by a consultancy firm which was mandated to look at the feasibility of the anticipated programme and make recommendations. At all material times the beneficiaries were advised of the fact that there would be a need to vacate the premises to pave way for the sale of the Home. It was made clear to the beneficiaries that they were not going to be thrown into the streets, but that each individual’s needs would be assessed and a program of rehabilitation or integration suitable to him or her put in place. They were also advised that part of the proceeds from the sale of the property would be used to finance integration projects in the communities in which they were to be resettled. The beneficiaries were asked to indicate the types of projects they wanted to undertake.