Judgment No. HB 43/2003
Case No. HC 520/2003
ZISCO STELL LIMITED
ASSISTANT REGISTRAR OF DEEDS
IN THE HIGH COURT OF ZIMBABWE
BULAWAYO 11 & 20 MARCH 2003
J Nyarotafor the applicant
Ms P Dubefor the 1st respondent
Urgent Chamber Application
CHIWESHE J: The applicant is an employee of the first respondent.
Sometime in the year 2001 the respondent resolved to sell the block of flats occupied
by the applicant to its employees. The applicant avers that in pursuance of that
objective the first respondent advised its employees to form a co-operative in order
that they pull their resources together to raise the purchase price. Thus the Millenium
Co-operative Society was formed. The applicant made contributions to that society.
In April 2002 the applicant was dismissed from work in a case involving theft.
The applicant is challenging that decision in the Labour Relations Tribunal. At the
same time the 1st respondent has sought to evict the applicant from the flat. That
matter too is pending before the Magistrates’ Court at Kwekwe.
The applicant has information to the effect that the 1st respondent has sold the
flat to a third party, one Linda. He fears transfer of the relevant section of the flat
may go through any time. Further the Millenium Co-operative Society has barred
applicant from making further contributions and indicated its intention to terminate
his membership of that society.
The applicant has reason to believe that transfer of the property may be
imminent and that he stands to be prejudiced if the property were transferred to a third
party before his employment status is determined by the Labour Relations Tribunal.
He avers that first respondent has in the past transferred properties to third parties
under similar circumstances to the prejudice of its employees.
It is on that basis that the applicant seeks a provisional order interdicting the
first respondent from selling and transferring to a third party flat number 24, Globe
Court, Kwekwe and further interdicting the second respondent from registering any
transfer in respect of the said flat.
The first respondent have opposed the application on the grounds inter alia
that the applicant has not established a prima facie right that he is entitled to the
interim relief sought. I agree with the submissions made by the first respondent.
Firstly the applicant has not furnished this court with a written offer to sell to him the
flat in question nor has he furnished the court with his written acceptance thereof. It
is unlikely that a transaction of this nature would have been made the subject of a
verbal offer and acceptance. Secondly there is no agreement of sale concluded by
the parties in respect of the property in question. It is only on the basis of such an
agreement that the applicant may seek relief in the manner he does. In its absence the
applicant has no leg to stand on.
The applicant implies the offer was made to the Millenium Co-operative
Society. Again there is no written evidence of this. The question of whether the
applicant has lost his employment has no bearing on the present application.
Employee or not, the fact remains that the applicant has failed to establish the
existence of any contractual obligation on the part of the first respondent.
Further it appears to me that the applicant has not been candid with his legal
practitioner. The first respondent produced a standard offer form used for purposes
such as the present. The legal practitioner was seeing it for the first time. Secondly
the Millenium Co-operative Society wrote a letter to the applicant advising him of its
intention to terminate his membership. That letter was produced by the first
respondent. Again it had not been brought to the attention of the applicant’s legal
An application such as the present must not be made in the absence of a
demonstrable prima facie case. It is the duty of the legal practitioner to diligently
inquire into the merits of the case and advise his client accordingly.
It was for these reasons that I dismissed the application with costs.
Messrs Ben Baron & Partnersapplicant’s legal practitioners
Messrs Coghlan & Welsh1st respondent’s legal practitioner