The High Court in Zomba has dismissed an injunction and an application for judicial review which Malawi Housing Corporation (MHC) tenants obtained in August this year restricting MHC from effecting a rental hike.
MHC planned to increase its rentals in July with an average of 48 percent but suspended the plans as the tenants threatened to hold a nationwide strike and dragged the corporation to court.
It was after the threat that the overall increment was reduced to 43 percent which the tenants still protested, forcing MHC to rescind its decision until further notice.
Initially, the case was supposed to go for mediation before the Dean of Law at the University of Malawi’s Chancellor College, Garton Kamchedzera, on the afternoon of Friday last week before the judicial review hearing on Monday this week.
However, lawyer for the tenants failed to show up and had communicated to his clients that he could not make it as he uncle had passed away and had to attend the funeral.
Speaking in a telephone interview today in the morning, spokesperson for the tenants Goodnews Mphande, however said they are waiting to consult with the lawyer this afternoon whereupon they will be advised on the way forward.
He said: “However, the court has provided that whenever we are ready on the matter, we can go back, so we are expecting to meet with our lawyer, and afterwards, we will decide on the way forward.”
Commenting on the ruling, MHC director of administration and corporate affairs James Kaphale, said the ruling has given the corporation powers to now go full throttle in implementing the rental hikes which were initially pegged at 48 percent.
He said: “As Malawi Housing Corporation, we are happy that the court has dismissed the tenants, both on the injunction and the judicial review. We will now go full throttle in implementing the rental adjustments.”
Boasting of about 6 000 housing units nationwide, MHC is a statutory body established by an Act of Parliament in 1964 and is wholly owned by the Malawi Government.
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