The High Court in Lilongwe has given Salima District Council permission to evict private developers who built illegal structures on its land.
Judge Ruth Chinangwa made the order on Friday following an application by the town council against 18 people who claimed ownership over the land.
In its submission, the council said some vendors allocated themselves plots at Salima Community Centre Hall illegally without involving the council.
This however, angered vendors plying their business in the main market who boycotted paying market fees in November 2019, asking the council to resolve the matter.
In an interview, Salima District Council spokesperson Grace Kapatuka said the council has since given the developers a month to destroy the structures.
“We have engaged our legal counsel to communicate the same to the defendants’ lawyers about the notice and if they don’t comply, the council will be compelled to demolish their structures,” she said.
Kapatuka said the court slapped the defendants with costs of the suit.
In a separate interview, one of the developers, Max Chisindo, declined to comment on the court’s ruling, saying they needed to consult their lawyer on the matter.
Jaffali Maulana, a resident, welcomed the court ruling, saying the council is trying to bring sanity in the district.
“Let us not condone land encroachers because Salima is still developing. So, the council will need the land to develop structures that will benefit the district,” he said.