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High Court stops Zimbabwe's lands minister from grabbing farm

by Staff reporter
12 Sep 2023 at 20:17hrs | Views
The High Court has intervened to halt the lands ministry's efforts to seize a 50-hectare farm in Mount Hampden from a man who has held ownership since 1981.

The government had officially designated the property for compulsory acquisition on April 6, 2012. However, Bruce Charles Alexander claimed that he only became aware of this designation when he applied for a subdivision permit to the Mashonaland West provincial town planner last year.

According to Alexander, he was informed that the lands ministry planned to utilize the land for resettlement and agricultural purposes. The High Court was informed that the same piece of land had been previously designated by the Zvimba Rural District Council on August 4, 2006, for various uses, including industrial, commercial, residential, and supportive structures. This plan had zoned a total area of 13,990 hectares as urban land, with the plan taking effect on September 1, 2006.

Alexander, who filed a lawsuit against Lands Minister Anxious Masuka, sought to have the government's designation of the property declared null and void. He also sought recognition as the rightful owner.

Alexander argued that the land could not be appropriated for agricultural purposes because it had been designated as urban land in 2006. He contended that the minister did not dispute that the land in question was, indeed, urban land.

Masuka, represented by Acting Permanent Secretary Gibson Chijarira, opposed the application, asserting that the relief sought was legally inadequate. He contended that Alexander should have specifically requested a declaration of the action's unconstitutionality.

Justice Never Katiyo ruled in favor of Alexander's arguments, stating, "There is nothing put forward by the minister to the effect that the 2006 designation was reversed or revoked before the 2012 designation was put in place." Justice Katiyo further emphasized that the government's 2012 designation of the property as published in the government gazette on April 6, 2012, was "null and void."

Source - zimlive