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New twist to tycoon's estate

by Staff reporter
05 Mar 2021 at 17:43hrs | Views
The late John Bredenkampā€˜s widow, Jennifer, has filed an urgent chamber application at the High Court seeking to block her son Gavin from holding on to the family's Thetford Farm in Mazowe. The case was filed under Case Number HC 132/21.

Jennifer and five other applicants are being represented by Atherstone and Cook while Gavin is represented by Titan Law.

The applicants seek to stop Gavin and the Ministry of Lands from interfering with the farm, the residence usage, rights and freedoms until a final decision relating to the rights of the parties are met by the Court.

This latest move comes after a vicious fight has continued to play out within the tycoon's family which saw Gavin taking steps to evict his mother and siblings from the family's Thetford Estate Farm.

The move, according to Court documents seen by Business Times, has exposed his mother siblings to the extent of threatening their health, life and property.

In an affidavit dated February 22, 2021 seen by Business Times, Jennifer noted that she was living under a daily threat of eviction from Gavin.

"Being a widow of the late (John) Bredenkamp with whom I operated and resided at Thetford Farm for just about 20 years before his demise in June 2020, I approach this Honourable Court as the first applicant for relief against my own son Gavin (Bredenkamp) whose cruel and shameful conduct in the aftermath of the demise of his father is causing more extreme grief.

"My current residence is Thetford Farm but I live under the daily threat of eviction by my own son," she said in the affidavit.

According to the court documents, in the year 2000, John Bredenkamp settled at Thetford Farm but shortly thereafter, the farm was listed by government and converted to State land.

The Bredenkamp family objected to that listing and requested the government of Zimbabwe to at least allow the family to continue residing and operating the farm on account of its erstwhile status as part owners or beneficiaries of the farm.

The government did not issue an offer letter in the family's names but allowed the family to continue utilising the land for the next 20 years.

In January 2021, Gavin informed Jennifer that an offer letter had been issued in his favour by Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement. He indicated that he wanted his two sisters and other key employees at the farm to immediately vacate.

Shortly thereafter Gavin's lawyers issued a three months' notice for them to vacate the farm.

"We engaged our lawyers to attend to the matter and represent our best interests in light of clear violation of our rights. Atherstone and Cook engaged Titan Law with a view to finding an amicable solution to the dispute," read part of the affidavit.

"I do recognise that I don't have an automatic right to continue residing at the Mazowe Farm but the fact that the residence at that estate was the matrimonial home that I shared with my late husband for at least two decades should certainly count for something."

Born in Kimberly, South Africa in 1940, Bredenkamp moved to the then Southern Rhodesia with his parents. He became one of Zimbabwe's richest people and was a controversial billionaire businessman who captained the national rugby side before independence.

Reports suggest that Bredenkamp gained considerable clout in the political and economic affairs of Zimbabwe, and is believed to have been a key donor of various political parties in Zimbabwe.

The reports also say Bredenkamp exploited various opportunities early, running Rhodesian tobacco past United Nations embargoes using a network of complex barter deals to buy guns and ammunition for the Rhodesian armed forces.

Bredenkamp is alleged to have assisted numerous pariah states to bust sanctions and the tycoon allegedly managed to find favour in the inner circle of Ian Smith's government and that of former president, Robert Mugabe.

According to reports the tycoon admitted to having assisted the Smith government in the 1970s, to break international sanctions in order to ensure that the Smith regime remained armed.

Despite this history, Bredenkamp was able to form a relationship with Mugabe's government.

The relationship reportedly included the provision of financial and logistical support and a role in the Democratic Republic of Congo war between 1998 and 2003.

The relationship resulted in Bredenkamp being added to the United States sanctions list, a decision which the European Union and Switzerland shortly followed.

He was eventually removed from the European sanctions list.

Bredenkamp was also on the US Office of Foreign Assets Control sanctions list. The embargo was lifted after his death.

Source - businesstimes