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Lawyer sues Minister over squatters

by Staff reporter
03 Feb 2020 at 05:30hrs | Views
PROMINENT Bulawayo lawyer Mr Vonani Majoko has taken Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Minister Perrance Shiri to court seeking an eviction order against unknown "illegal settlers" at his property in Bubi district, Matabeleland North.  

Mr Majoko filed an application at the Bulawayo High Court citing Minister Shiri and unknown persons occupying his farmhouse at Gabriella of Robert Block Farm, as respondents.

He wants an order directing Minister Shiri to evict all persons occupying the farmhouse on Sub-division 1 of remaining extent of Gabriella of Robert Block in Bubi district.

In his founding affidavit, Mr Majoko said he was issued with an offer letter in November 2016 by Minister Shiri's predecessor, Mr Douglas Mombeshora, to occupy the property.

"When I took occupation of the farm, I found persons employed by the former owner still in occupation of the servants' quarters. I had a discussion with them and they advised me that they were employed by Mr John Muir to clean the farmhouse and tend the gardens," he said.

"When I contacted Mr Muir advising him that I had been offered the farm, which offer included the land and all its improvements, the house, borehole and fencing, he expressed shock."

Mr Majoko said despite Mr Muir having gone to the offices of the Ministry to confirm the offer letter, the latter insisted that the farmhouse was not part of the acquired property.

"When I accepted the offer letter and took occupation of the farm in May 2017, the farmhouse was vacant. It remained largely unoccupied, but since around mid-2018, different Chinese people come and occupy the house for brief periods," he said.

Mr Majoko said despite approaching officials from the Ministry in Matabeleland North, there seems to be no solution to his woes.

"As a legal practitioner, I am aware that I have to look to the offeror, the first respondent (Minister Shiri), to give me a vacant possession of that which I was offered and accepted. As a lawyer, I cannot be seen taking the law into my own hands by forcibly taking occupation," he said.

"Through this application, I seek an order directing the occupants, whoever they may be, to immediately vacate the gazetted land so that, as a holder of an offer letter, I can take occupation."

Mr Majoko wants the Minister to be compelled by the court to take all necessary steps to assist in evicting the illegal settlers.

In the event that an order is granted in his favour, Mr Majoko wants the occupants of the farmhouse to vacate within five days, failure of which the Deputy Sheriff of the High Court should be directed to evict them.

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Source - chronicle